Apply for charitable discretionary rate relief

Application guidance

What is Charitable Discretionary Rate Relief?

It is a relief scheme that allows rates bills to be reduced for charitable and non-profit making organisations.

What organisations may qualify?

If your organisation is a registered charity, and the property concerned is used wholly or mainly for charitable purposes, then you may be entitled to 80% relief.

If your organisation is not a charity, but is another type of non-profit making organisation, the council still has discretion to award relief. To be eligible for consideration you must be a non-profit making body and the property used for charitable, philanthropic or religious purposes, or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts, or used wholly or mainly for recreation by a not-for-profit club or society.

How do I apply?

Complete the online application form.

Factors considered when assessing your application for Discretionary Relief

(a) Whether the application satisfies the legal requirements

The Authority cannot award relief to any organisation that does not meet the legal requirements of Section 47 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988.

(b) The benefit the ratepayer brings to the residents of the Borough

The Authority needs to ensure that the award of Discretionary Rate Relief is to the benefit of the wider population of the Slough Borough Council. Any ratepayer whose membership comes from largely outside the Borough’s boundaries is unlikely to qualify for relief unless they can prove a sound case for a specific and unequivocal benefit to residents of the Borough.

(c) Whether the ratepayer is a local organisation, or a branch of a national organisation

The Authority will need to consider the overall benefit to the community of the organisation and what effect the award of rate relief will have upon the organisation. If the benefit of the rate relief is kept locally, the relief is more likely to be awarded than if it goes to a national organisation which is based elsewhere.

(d) Membership costs

The cost of membership should not be used as a means to restrict membership.

(e) Whether the organisation actively promotes representation from disadvantaged or under-represented groups in the community

Organisations which do so are more worthy of rate relief and are requested to supply detailed information on action taken to ensure that the benefits of the organisation are in practice reaching or being brought to the attention of all those who might benefit.

(f) Whether membership is determined by the votes of existing members

Where an organisation determines membership based on the election by existing members this could be construed as a restriction. Such organisations will need to be carefully evaluated as to whether they should receive rate relief.

(g) Whether the organisation provides training or education for its members

An organisation which provides training packages or educational aspects for its members is more worthy of relief than one which does not.

(h) Is the organisation or the facilities provided being funded largely self-help rather than relying on full external funding?

Whilst many organisations do depend on grant-aid and awards from statutory bodies, those which undertake fundraising themselves by various methods are probably more worthy of rate relief than those who do not make additional efforts.

What if circumstances change?

If the aims and objectives of the organisation, or the way in which the premises are used, change then the council needs to be notified of this immediately.