Business Rates

Non Domestic Rates are a form of local taxation that helps us provide Council services. Rates are paid on buildings that aren't used as homes, commercial properties used by businesses, for example. The amount charged depends on the rateable value of the property, as determined by the Assessor.

In 2018 to 2019 the total value of rates charged to businesses in Orkney is approximately £14.3 million, which is reduced to around £10.6 million after the relevant discounts and exemptions have been applied. 

All Business Rates pages can be accessed from the 'More pages in this section' menu.

Rateable Value

Normally, every five years all non-domestic business properties in Scotland are given new rateable values, which is referred to as a revaluation. The most recent revaluation came into effect from 1 April 2017, having been postponed since the previous revaluation in 2010.

The Scottish Assessor, who is independent of both local and central government, determines the rateable value of every business property in Scotland and sets this out in a Valuation Notice. The Valuation Notice sets the rateable value for the property and includes the property in the Valuation Roll, which is then used by the Council as the basis for rates billing and collection.

More information about valuations and practice notes on methods of valuation are available at the Scottish Assessors Association website in the Related Sites section of this webpage.

Discounts and Exemptions

You might qualify for a discount or an exemption from paying a rates bill if, for example, a building stands empty, or is used by a charity or sports club, or as a general store, post office, food shop, pub, small hotel or petrol station in a rural community.

Transitional Relief 2017 to 2018 and 2018 to 2019

From 1 April 2017 all non-domestic (business) properties in Scotland were provided with new rateable values. The revaluation meant that some businesses experienced an increase in their rates bills. The Scottish Government recognised that some business sectors had experienced significant increases and introduced a Transitional Relief scheme in 2017 to 2018 to cap the increases at 12.5 per cent from the 2016 to 2017 charge (14.75 percent when adjusted for the Retail Price Index figure).

The Scottish Government has extended the scheme for 2018 to 2019 to cap the increases to 12.5 per cent from the 2017 to 2018 charge (when adjusted for the Retail Price Index figure this means that the 2018 to 2019 bills are restricted to an increase of 32.9 per cent from the 2016 to 2017 charge).

The Transitional Relief scheme mainly applies to the hospitality sector and is application based.  You can download an Application form or an Information Leaflet from the 'Related Downloads' section of this page.

Shooting Rights

From 1 April 2017 Shooting Rights became liable for Non-Domestic Rates. However, the majority of ratepayers are eligible to apply for rates relief under the existing Small Business Bonus Scheme. More details of this rates relief scheme is available in the Business Rates - Reductions section of this webpage.  

The Scottish Assessors Association has provided a Frequently Asked Questions section on their website to help answer further questions about Shooting Rights. A link to their webpage is shown in the Related Sites section of this webpage.

Further Information

For further information on rates, rateable value or rate discounts, please contact the Finance team on Telephone: 01856873535 extension 2133.

You can also download a leaflet which provides further information on the revaluation and other general rates information. This is located within the Related Downloads section of this page.

Additional Business Rates guidance including a rates calculator is also available in the Related Sites section on this page.

Related Sites

School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535


Orkney Islands Council: BOREAS DOMUS MARE AMICUS