Freedom of Information Requests - Business Rates

Business Rates Credits

Credit bill notices have been sent to all ratepayers where credits appear on their accounts.

The Council does not publish information about Business Rates accounts that currently have credit balances in response to Freedom of Information requests.

Information in respect of credit balances is considered exempt under section 31(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (prevention or detection of crime)

The Council holds this information but believes that its disclosure could result in fraudulent refund claims being made to the Council for these credit balances.

This follows decisions by the Information Commission in respect of requests made to Wandsworth Council and the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham in respect of a request for NNDR credit balances.  The decisions can be read here:

Engaging section 31 requires a public interest test to be considered: there is a public interest in ensuring the transparency and efficiency of Council business, and also there is a very limited wider public interest.  

In favour of withholding the information is the public interest in preventing fraudulent refund claims being made against the Council, and the cost that such fraud places on the public purse.

On this basis, the Council considers that the public interest in disclosing the information requested is outweighed by the public interest in preventing the risk of fraudulent claims being made.

Freedom of Information (FOI) requests have shown that there is a demand for a variety of data from West Lindsey District Council's business rate records.

What information is available?

In order for you to obtain the information faster and remove the need to make a formal request, we will publish Business Rates information quarterly in the Downloads section.

We are unable to supply details of individuals as this constitutes personal data, as defined by the Data Protection Act 2018; and is exempt from disclosure by virtue of Section 40(2)(a)(i) (Personal Information) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

We have removed any sole trader’s personal information and any accounts in credit.

The list below details the most common requests sent to our authority for Non-Domestic Rates Freedom of Information requests. The various reliefs can be found under the column headers within the Business Rates All Accounts spreadsheet. Example reliefs are detailed below:

Business rate reliefs and examples
Relief Type  Relief example
Mandatory Relief types 1, Relief types 2 and Relief types 3
Discretionary Relief types 1, Relief types 2 and Relief types 3
Rural Relief types 1, Relief types 2 and Relief types 3
Small business Relief types 1, Relief types 2 and Relief types 3
Retail discount Relief types 1, Relief types 2 and Relief types 3
Exemptions Exemption Type
Properties not in receipt of small business rate relief Relief types 2 and Relief types 3
Rateable value greater than 5,000 Current Rateable Value

Empty Homes

Empty property details have been withheld in accordance with Exemption 31(1)(a) in that the release of large numbers of empty properties can, and have been attempted to be, used to perpetrate fraud or for other criminal purposes. The public interest in this case is to withhold the information in order to prevent the attempted criminal actions.