Business Rates

Covid-19 Additional Relief Scheme (CARF)

Introduction:

The Government has provided a wide range of support to businesses in an attempt to reduce the impact of the pandemic on the economy since March 2020.  This application is for a scheme to provide a rate relief to businesses in Hyndburn under the Government’s Covid-19 Additional Relief (CARF) scheme.

On 15 December the Government announced a new COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) of £1.5 billion.

The £1.5 billion will be allocated to local authorities based upon the estimated rateable value in each local authority rating list which falls within the scope of the fund.

The fund will be available to support those businesses affected by the pandemic but that are ineligible for existing support linked to business rates.

The Government has made £1,468,781 available to the Council to distribute as rate relief to support to businesses.  The funding is capped at this level.  It will be issued as a rate relief against business rates liability for 2021/2022. No cash alternative is available.

CARF has replaced the legal right to appeal to the Valuation Office Agency on Material Change of Circumstances grounds due to COVID.

Eligibility:

To be eligible for CARF you must be –

    • an eligible ratepayer liable and occupying the property for business rates in Hyndburn during the financial year 2021/2022 (for a period of a day or more) from the 1st April 2021,
    • listed on the Councils Non Domestic Rates system for your period of liability at 1st February 2022,
    • must not be a ratepayer who for the same period of the relief either are or would have been eligible for the Extended Retail Discount (covering Retail, Hospitality and Leisure), the Nursery Discount or the Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme (AGOSS),
    • must be an eligible ratepayer that can demonstrate that their business has been adversely affected by the pandemic (in a way that prevents success or development; harmfully or unfavourably) and have been unable to adequately adapt to that impact.
    • If there is no business rates liability, for example due eligibility for Small Business Rate Relief, or Mandatory Relief already granted to the business during the relief period, the business will not be eligible for this relief.
    • Telephone masts, car park spaces, and advertising rights within Hyndburn will also be ineligible for CARF.

Applications will be considered by all eligible businesses large or small, including businesses with less than five employees, and those operating on a self-employed basis, who have a liability for business rates.

 

What you will receive:

The amount of CARF relief to be granted will be determined by the Council.

The Council have access to limited to funds from the Government in relation to the CARF scheme, and it is expected that most awards will be up to 12.5 per cent of business rates liability for 2021/2022.

All awards of this relief will be by a credit against the business rates bill.  No cash alternative is available.

The scheme will operate in accordance with Government Guidance and funding availability.

Exclusions:

    • ratepayers who for the same period of the relief either are or would have been eligible for the Extended Retail Discount (covering Retail, Hospitality and Leisure), the Nursery Discount or the Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme (AGOSS) are excluded from CARF,
    • If there is no business rates liability, for example due eligibility for Small Business Rate Relief, or Mandatory Relief already granted to the business during the relief period, the business will not be eligible for CARF.
    • Telephone masts, car park spaces, and advertising rights within Hyndburn will also be ineligible for CARF.
    • Businesses which have already received financial assistance that equal the maximum levels outlined in the Subsidy Control section of this policy will not be eligible for CARF.

 

The application process

To apply, you must complete all relevant questions on each section of the application form and provide all evidence and information.

Incomplete applications will not be accepted, nor will applications without full supporting evidence and information.

The Councils CARF application form is available here.

What happens next

Once you have applied for CARF, you will receive an email to confirm that your application has been received.

We aim to consider all applications within 14 days of the application closing date. However, we may contact you for further information should we need to. We aim to award CARF to successful applications within 14 days of the application.

If your application is successful, we will email/write to you and CARF will be allocated to your business rates liability for the financial year 2021/2022.

If a business has already paid its business rates in full for 2021/2022, and is subsequently awarded CARF, the Council will transfer any relevant credit balance created due to a CARF award to future years Non Domestic Rates liability, or to any Non Domestic Rates arrears outstanding for previous financial years.

If your application is not successful, we will notify you in writing outlining the reasons why. As this is a discretionary relief, there is no option to appeal a decision, however if you think we have made an error in processing your application, please email us at enquiries@hyndburnbc.gov.uk

 

Managing Fraud and Error

The Government will not accept deliberate manipulation and fraud. Any business caught falsifying their records to gain additional rate relief will face prosecution and any funding issued will be recovered, as may any relief granted in error.

Local Authorities must continue to ensure the safe administration of rate relief and that appropriate measures are put in place to mitigate against the increased risks of both fraud and payment error. In this respect, rate administrators should supplement existing controls with digital tools to support efficient, appropriate and accurate rate relief awards.

For the avoidance of doubt, Local Authorities are required to undertake pre-payment checks for all applications. These checks are required to be undertaken before any rate relief is issued to businesses and Local Authorities should retain evidence of such. This requirement is not limited to new applicants and should look at both the company and the company’s bank account.

A copy of the Councils Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) policy is available here.