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Lews Castle

Non-Domestic Rates (Business Rates)

National Non-Domestic Rates (business rates) is a tax we raise and collect from business properties. We collect this on behalf of the Scottish Government who take the money collected from all councils and pass it back through grants.

It is normally the occupier of a non-domestic property who is responsible for paying rates. There are certain circumstances where full or partial relief from rates will be given.

How to Pay

Payments can be made using the following methods:

  • Direct Debit: We would encourage you to consider paying your Non Domestic Rates by Direct Debit. This may be more convenient for you and your business/organisation as the completion of a Direct Debit instruction can enable you to pay by monthly instalments. Payments by one lump sum or by two instalments before the 30th of September can also be paid by Direct Debit. The Direct Debit can also be carried forward to the following years removing the need to set instalments up on an annual basis. Please contact us on 01851 822643 if you would like to set up a Direct Debit.
  • By Internet: You can make a payment on the Comhairle’s payments webpage.
  • By Internet Banking: If you have internet access to the bank account from which you wish to pay your bill, you may be able to make payments directly to the Comhairle. Payments should be made to Account No. 00290393 and Sort Code 83-27-12. You must use the account reference on your bill as the reference with your payments to ensure it will be allocated to your account.
  • By Telephone: If you wish to make a payment by debit/credit card you can call 01851 600502 between 9.00am and 4.30pm, Monday to Thursday and 9.00am and 4pm Friday.

If instalments are overdue, a final notice will be issued and the right to pay by instalments will be lost. The balance outstanding for the year must then be paid within 14 days otherwise a Summary Warrant will be obtained from the Sheriff Court in terms of the Section 247 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1947 and Section 8 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1975. A statutory penalty of 10% will be charged.

Where a Demand Notice is issued on or after 1st January, in respect of a period to 31st March, the rates must be paid in full in the following month.

What Is A Non-domestic Property?

Non-domestic properties are properties such as shops, offices, warehouses, factories, and any other property that is not classed as domestic property. In some cases, properties may be used for both domestic and non-domestic use (for example, a guest house or hotel) in which case both Council Tax and Non-Domestic rates will be charged. It is the Assessor who determines whether the property is classed as domestic or non-domestic.

How Much Will I Have To Pay?

The Comhairle is responsible for issuing rates bills to the occupiers of non-domestic properties in the Western Isles. Non-Domestic Rates are levied on the basis of a national poundage rate, set by the Scottish Executive. This is multiplied by the rateable value of the property you occupy. The assessor sets the ‘rateable value’ for your property. The rateable value is broadly based on an estimate of the yearly rent the property could earn on the open market. To find the rateable value for any business property you can use the search facility at Scottish Assessors.

The poundage rate for 2024-2025 is 49.8p for every pound of rateable value. Any business that uses (or has the right to use) a property with a rateable value of between £51,001 and £100,000 will pay a supplement of 4.5p on top of the poundage rate.  Any business that uses (or has the right to use) a property with a rateable value of over £100,000 will pay a supplement of 6.1p on top of the poundage rate. This additional supplement contributes to the cost of the Small Business Bonus Scheme.

Please visit mygov.scot Non-domestic rates calculator for an estimate of your bill for 2024-2025.

How Often Do Revaluations Take Place and Why Do We Have Them?

A revaluation of Non-Domestic subjects in Scotland is usually carried out by the Scottish Assessors. The principal purpose of a revaluation is to ensure that the distribution of the rates burden between ratepayers remains equitable so that the overall national business rates bill only changes in line with inflation.

The most recent Non-Domestic rates revaluation took effect from 1 April 2023.

Appeals

You can appeal against your rates bill if you believe we have not assessed the charge correctly.

If you wish to appeal on the grounds of improper assessment, that the rates levy had been incorrectly calculated or applied, you must do so in writing giving details of the incorrect calculation or application. This must be within 28 days of receipt of this bill to Revenues and Benefits Manager, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Sandwick Rd, Stornoway, HS1 2BW.

If you have a query about the valuation of your property or wish to appeal please contact The Assessor, 42 Point Street, Stornoway, HS1 2XF, 01851 619 179.  Please note that pending settlement of any valuation appeal you are required to pay the Non Domestic Rates in full. If the appeal is settled at a reduced rateable value, interest may be payable on any overpayment of rates which are refunded to you.

Are Any Non-domestic Properties Exempt From Non-Domestic Rates?

Some types of property such as agricultural land and buildings, fish farms, fishing are exempt from entry in the Valuation Roll. This means that these properties are not liable to pay Non-Domestic Rates.

What If I Own a Holiday Home or a Bed and Breakfast Establishment?

Unless you plan to make your holiday home available for let for at least 140 days a year, you will not have to pay Non-Domestic rates on the property. You will have to pay Council Tax instead.

If you offer bed-and-breakfast accommodation to no more than six people, you will not be liable for Non-Domestic rates as long as you are living in the property. You will pay Council Tax instead.

If you hire out your holiday home for more than 140 days a year or you provide bed-and-breakfast for more than six people at any one time, you will have to pay Non-Domestic rates. You will also pay Council Tax on the part of your property you use as your home.

Further Information

For more information on business rates please visit mygov.scot Non-domestic rates (business rates) webpage.

Alternatively you may contact:

The Revenues Section
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
Sandwick Road
Stornoway
HS1 2BW
Tel: 01851 822643
e-mail: rates@cne-siar.gov.uk