Market Insight

Lack of awareness leaves business rates relief unclaimed by many

January 20, 2020

Businesses could be missing out on important business rates reliefs, because they don’t know they are eligible for them, according to our business rates experts.

The complexity of the UK business rates system is no secret, and time and again we have called for the system to be scrapped or overhauled. It simply is not fit for purpose and creates unnecessary red tape for businesses. 

In the face of continued Brexit uncertainty, new reporting requirements for HMRC’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) programme, and auto-enrolment obligations, what our SME community needs now more than ever, is certainty over their business rates liabilities. 

However, businesses often aren’t aware of the potential savings they can take advantage of. 

The business rate relief is a case in point. 

Effective from 1 April 2019, it was introduced to help our ailing high streets and small business community. 

Also known as the ‘retail discount’, it is a discretionary relief for 2019-20 and 2020-21 and is only applicable for ‘qualifying occupiers’ with a rateable value of less than £51,000. 

Initially, qualifying businesses could save up to one third on their rates payable, but following an announcement in the Queen’s Speech, this is set to rise to 50% for 2020-2021. 

Whilst a short-term initiative, this rates relief has the potential to help many small businesses. However, it is discretionary. 

Not only this, because it is not automatically granted by some councils, presumably with State Aid limits in mind, the onus is placed on many businesses to proactively check eligibility and claim what they are entitled to. 

And many could be missing out as a result. 

Are you one of them? 

Properties used for the sale of goods or services to the public could be eligible – from hotels and hairdressers, to garden centres and a whole host more. 

To check if your business is eligible to receive the retail rate relief, don’t hesitate to get in touch. 

Vail Williams specialises in business rates mitigation and relief

Our business rates experts can help you to receive, either a reduction in your current business rates liability via the retail rates relief, or a refund on your bill. 

We can also help you to understand your future liabilities, whilst exploring ways to either mitigate these or explore historical savings that can be claimed. 

For more information or an informal chat with one of our business rates experts, don’t hesitate to get in touch.