Rates - Commercial Rates Incentive Scheme
The Commercial Rates Incentive Scheme is available from 1st January 2023 offering the following incentives:
- An Incentive for the occupation of vacant commercial premises for a 5 year period.
- Early Payment Incentive for the SME sector - Incentive of between 2.5% and 5% for early payment of rates.
Both incentives will be subject to certain conditions, as outlined below:
Incentive for Occupation of Vacant Premises Scheme
The incentive for occupation of vacant commercial premises is a reduction in the annual commercial rates liability as follows:
End of year 1 - 100%
End of year 2 - 80%
End of year 3 - 60%
End of year 4 - 40%
End of year 5 - 20%
The operation of the scheme is subject to certain conditions being met as outlined in sections 1.1 – 1.6. The incentive is calendar year based, e.g. a 100% reduction in commercial rates is available when a business starts on the 1st of January.
When a business starts mid-year, the incentive is apportioned on a pro-rata basis.
|Year||Rates Liability||Rates Liability %||Rates Incentive||Rates Incentive %||Rates Incentive Calculation|
Table 2, gives details of the rates incentive and net commercial rates payable over the term of the scheme (5 years) for businesses with an annual rates bill of between €10k and €30k.
|Annual Rate Demand||Year 1|
|Year 1 |
Net Commer cial Rates Payable (0%)
|Year 2 |
Net Commercial Rates Payable (20%)
|Year 3 |
Net Commerc ial Rates Payable (40%)
|Year 4 |
Net Commerc ial Rates Payable(60%)
5 Grant (20%)
|Year 5 |
Net Commerc ial Rates Payable (80%)
|Total Rate Demands for 5 years||Total Grant for 5 years|
1.1 Effective Period of the Scheme
The scheme is in operation from the 1st of January 2023. The scheme may be subject to review/change at any time by Sligo County Council.
1.2 Qualifying Conditions of the Property
The incentive is only applicable to the occupation of existing rated commercial properties (i.e.) listed in the Council’s Rate Book as at 31st of December of the previous year, and which has been vacant for a period of at least 12 months as at the date of application.
1.3 The scheme will be Available to:
- A newly established business that has not traded in the County during the previous 12 months.
- An existing business relocating or expanding from outside the County.
- An existing business maintaining current location and expanding into a new location.
1.4 Qualifying Property Conditions
- There can be no outstanding commercial rates or any other local authority charges due on the subject premises.
- There can be no unauthorised development on the premises and the premises cannot be subject to planning enforcement proceedings.
- The proposed use is in accordance with existing planning permission on the premises.
- The incentive is only applicable to premises which have an annual rates liability of no more than €30,000.
- Displacement and Unfair Competition - New businesses deemed to be operating in competition with existing businesses in the same town, village or functional area will not be eligible to avail of the RIS.
- The owner of the vacant premises must comply with Section 32 of the Local Government Act 2014 in that Sligo County Council is to be informed of the transfer of the obligation for rates within 2 weeks of such transfer of obligation having been effected.
1.5 Qualifying Conditions of the Applicant
- The applicant must be the owner or lessee of the rateable premises and be in occupation of the premises conducting a qualifying business activity.
- The applicant must not have any local authority charges outstanding as at the date of application.
- The applicant will be required to sign up for payment of rates by standing order/EFT.
- The applicant must have a current tax clearance certificate.
- Actual occupation of less than 1 year will not qualify for the grant.
- The applicant has not been operating a commercial business of the same type in the County within the previous year, which has ceased trading.
- The incentive will only apply where rates bills are paid by the 31st of December every year or the total incentive will be lost.
1.6 Qualifying Uses
The incentive is available for all business uses that trade legally with the exception of:
- Fast Food Takeaway Outlets
- Amusement Arcades or Gaming Machine Outlets
- Betting Offices
- Private Members Clubs
- End of line/closing down/euro or discount stores
- E-Cigarette shops
- Cash for gold/cash for clothes shops
- Pop up shops
- Charity shops
The use of the premises must be in line with the existing planning permission granted.
Applications must be accompanied with the following documentation:
- Completed application form – Rates Incentive Scheme Application Form and Checklist 2023 (DOCx) - 248 kbs
- Evidence of unit vacancy
- Evidence of ownership and occupation of unit
- Section 32 Form completed for the subject premises – Section 32 (PDF) - 529 kbs
- Evidence of planning permission/consents for proposed use
- Evidence of business relocating or expanding from outside the County
- Evidence of an existing business maintaining current location and expanding into new location
- Evidence of current Tax Clearance Certificate
- Evidence of agreement to pay rates due by standing order/EFT – Standing order form (PDF) - 338 kbs .
All applications will be assessed in accordance with the criteria outlined above. Sligo County Council may request further information where appropriate. The Council may accept an amended application following a request for more information or amendments to the original application.
- The decision of the Council Executive is final.
- Notification of the decision will be provided as soon as practicable but not later than 2 weeks of receipt of all relevant documentation.
- Applicants are advised to apply for the incentive in advance of commencing in business.
- There is no guarantee of the incentive being granted.
- Any business qualifying for the above incentive can also avail of the early payment incentive once the conditions for that incentive are also complied with.
- The vacant premises rates incentive is subject to an on-line application and approval process.
- The Commercial Rates Incentive Scheme will be reviewed on an annual basis by the Planning, Community and Economic Development, Arts and Culture Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) of Sligo County Council.
An applicant will not be eligible for the incentive if there is a change of use in relation to the property or where payments are not kept up to date in line with the terms outlined above.
Disclosure of Information – Freedom of Information Act
Sligo County Council wishes to advise applicants that, under the Freedom of Information Acts 1997/2003 the information supplied in the application form may be made available on request, subject to Sligo County Council’s obligations under law.
Early Payment of Commercial Rates Incentive Scheme
This incentive is a reduction of:
- 5% of the annual rates liability for businesses who have an annual commercial rates liability of less than €10,000 and who pay the annual rates liability by the 31st of July each year.
- 2.5% of the annual rates liability for businesses who have an annual commercial rates liability of less than €10,000 and who pay the annual rates liability by the 30th of September each year.
|Annual rate demand||Payment of 95% of rate demand by 31st of July||Discount applied (5%)||Payment of 97.5% of rate demand by 30th of September||Discount applied (2.5%)|
The discount to the annual rates liability will be automatically applied once payment has been received by Sligo County Council by the dates specified above.
There is no application process for this incentive.
Aims of the Incentive
- To reduce the operational overheads of businesses in County Sligo.
- To provide a cash flow advantage to businesses that pay the annual Commercial Rates Liability early.
- To provide a targeted support for the SME sector in relation to Commercial Rates.
- To demonstrate the Council’s commitment to the economic development and regeneration of County Sligo.
The following prerequisites will apply to the incentive at the time of application of the discount:
- There can be no arrears of Commercial Rates or any other local authority charges due by the Rate Payer.
- The premises cannot be subject to planning enforcement proceedings.
- The incentive is only applicable to premises which have an annual rates liability of no more than €10,000.
The incentive is available for all business uses that trade legally and which are in line with the planning permission granted.
Qualifying Rate Payers
- Payment of at least 95% of the annual rates liability must be received by Sligo County Council by 31st of July for the year the incentive is in operation.
- Payment of at least 97.5% of the annual rates liability must be received by the 30th of September for the year the incentive is in operation.
The Rate Payer must be the owner or lessee of the subject premises and be in occupation of the premises conducting a qualifying business activity.