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Guide to Scottish non-domestic rates/business account when starting a business

Blog Guide to Scottish rates when starting a business hero

There are many things to consider when starting up a new business, especially if you’re looking to take on a commercial property.

If you’re acquiring a lease or buying a property you will also need to consider what business rates you may be liable for. Below is a helpful guide to find out what you might be liable for before you make that decision, and how to set up an account once you take on a property. 

Step 1: Look up the property on the Scottish Assessors Website

The first step to assessing what your business rates liability might be is to check the current rateable value of the property you plan to operate from on the Scottish Assessors website. Search for the property address within this box on the main page. You may have to try to search using street name or postcode, or the first part of the postcode, as sometimes the addresses do not match exactly with the Royal Mail address. 

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Step 2: Calculate your potential liability

Once you know what your rateable value is in order to calculate what your liability will be, you have to multiply your rateable value by the Uniform Business Rate or Rate Poundage which is set annually by the Scottish Government. The current rates are as follows: 

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The Scottish government business rates calculator can be found here.

Step 3: Consider if you may be eligible for any rates relief

You may be eligible for business rates relief. The most up to date information in respect of business rates relief can be found here.

Steps 1-3 will allow you to factor your potential bricks and mortar business rates liability into your business plan in order to budget appropriately. If you proceed to acquire an interest in a commercial property then these are the next steps to take. 

Step 4: Notify the billing authority within 42 days

You must notify the relevant billing authority within 42 days of there being a change in occupier at a commercial property. Failure to do so could result in a fine of £370. Therefore as soon as you acquire an interest in a property you should endeavour to contact the billing authority. 

Step 5: If eligible for rate relief make an application

If you believe that you are eligible for any form of rates relief detailed here then you should complete and submit an application form to the relevant billing authority. Application forms can be found directly on the local authority website. A link to each local authority website can be found within the box through the above website link for relief. 

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Step 6: Receiving a rates bill

Once you have notified the billing authority that you have acquired an interest in the property they should issue you with a rates bill. You should review the rateable value is correct and any relief you have applied for has been applied correctly.

You can opt to pay your rates bill by cheque, postal order, direct debit or over the phone through a payment hotline. You can agree to pay your rates bill annually or by instalments and should speak with your billing authority directly in order to arrange the frequency and method of payment.  

Step 7: Consider if you would like to appeal against the rateable value

If you believe that your rateable value may be incorrect you have a right to appeal against it. Appeals are time restricted up until 31 March 2023 you will have six months from acquiring an interest in a property to submit an appeal and after 1 April 2023 this timescale will be reduced to four months. 

How can our Scottish experts help you?

Through working with our local Scottish business rates experts you can ensure that you will not pay more than you need to in business rates. 
The proposal and appeal system is new and forms part of an overall business rates reform in Scotland. It can be difficult to navigate, there are technical requirements and restrictive deadlines meaning that proposals and appeals can be considered invalid if all qualifying criteria are not met. Our local experts have a breadth of knowledge in this sector and can conduct a review of your rateable value and rates payable in order to identify opportunities to challenge your assessment where appropriate. 

Our team can advise and submit proposals and appeals, conduct audit and efficiency reviews or manage your rates accounts. If you wish to discuss your business rates with one of our experts please do not hesitate to contact us.

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About the author
Louise Daly has more than a decade of experience specialising in business rates in Scotland, and leads Colliers’ Scottish Rating team. She has worked with international organisations to lower their liabilities and ensure that businesses are able to operate profitably. She has experience of representing occupiers at Valuation Appeal Committee hearings. Louise is a member of several prominent ratepayers’ forums and regularly liaises with the Scottish Assessors Association in respect of reforms to the Scottish rating system.

To contact Louise, email

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Louise Daly




Louise's role within the Rating Department involves dealing with a large number of appeals on behalf of various local and national clients.


Louise has been involved in complex negotiations for a diverse portfolio of properties across the whole of Scotland in order to secure reductions in Rateable Value for clients.

Louise is also involved in Commercial Lease Consultancy comprising mostly of rent reviews, lease renewals and lease re-gears. Working for a number of national clients on their Scottish property porfolios.

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