On 18 October the Government announced its intention to postpone until 2017 the Business Rates Revaluation that had been proposed for April 2015.
The Government has been accused of deferring the Revaluation until after the next General Election for political reasons, at the expense of hard pressed businesses. Whatever the reasons for the Government's decision it is perhaps more fruitful to consider how this will affect local companies and what action they could now take to minimise their rate bills.
How will the cancellation of Revaluation impact on your business?
In simple terms business rates are calculated from the Rateable Value of the premises multiplied by the Uniform Business Rate (UBR). The current Rateable Value is an estimate of the open market rental value of the premises at 1 April 2008, before the economic recession had fully taken hold.
A Revaluation at 2015 would have been based on rental values in 2013, and in much of the Thames Valley this would have been expected to result in significant reductions in rateable value.
However, the rating system is designed to ensure that the effect of the Revaluation is neutral across the whole of England with any reduction in aggregate rateable values being offset by a higher UBR. So in very general terms the impact of the Revaluation would probably have been fairly neutral across many parts of the local market. But at an individual property level the position could have looked very different with some sectors of the market facing increased rate liability and others, in struggling markets, benefitting from lower bills had the Revaluation gone ahead.
What can you do to minimise your business rate bills?
Assuming the Bill is passed by Parliament, the postponement of the Revaluation will leave businesses paying rates on the current valuations until March 2017, with annual increases for inflation.
Those that have not already instructed a rating surveyor to advise on the possibility of making savings by appealing would be well advised to do so. A successful appeal could result in savings backdated to 1 April 2010.
Changes and vacancies
If anything has changed, if you have vacated any part of the premises, or you are suffering from any temporary disturbance that affects the enjoyment of your premises, you may be able to make a further appeal or claim relief from part of the bill.
However, you should bear in mind that it is not always wise to appeal because valuations can go up as well as down, so you should take professional advice to ensure you avoid the pitfalls.
Associate - Vail Williams LLP
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Notes to Editors
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