For the uninitiated (you don't know how lucky you are!), business rates are basically council tax for businesses. So, a shop or office will pay the local authority a monthly amount, calculated on the size and assumed value of their business space, in return for services provided by the local authority. There has always been controversy around business rates. For instance, large online retailers like Amazon pay very little as their properties are mostly large warehouses rather than them having a physical presence on the high street.