Business Rates Advice
The current uncertainty caused by the new Rating List and new appeals procedure makes it even more difficult for occupiers to develop a coherent strategy to minimise or mitigate their business rate liabilities.
However, irrespective of whether your new assessment has increased, decreased or stayed the same, experience tells us that there may be a number of potential opportunities to reduce the amount you pay in rates - any one of which could make a significant difference to your bottom line over the next five years.
How we work
Our team of Business Rates consultants (advising clients on their Business Rates liabilities is all they do) has a deep expertise which extends over a wide range of properties and sectors including office space, industrial, retail premises and specialist properties. They have a proven track record in:
- Budgeting and rate bill audits
- Successfully appealing against Rateable Values
- Securing temporary allowances if the property is adversely affected by external factors - such as disturbances caused by major building works
- Advising on reliefs and exemptions (e.g. empty or partially occupied property relief)
- Expert witness representation.
But above all, our long-standing relationships with our private and public sector clients is underpinned by a simple fact - we save them millions of pounds in business rates, year after year.
For expert business rates advice call one of our UK offices or complete our online enquiry form.
Business rates are a tax on property used for any non-domestic purpose. They are charged on offices, shops, pubs and warehouses - most non-domestic properties will attract business rates.
The Rateable Value of non-domestic property in England and Wales is fixed by an independent valuation officer of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). In Scotland, the Scottish Assessor sets the rateable value. The most recent revaluation across the three countries was 1st April 2017. The rateable value of a property represents its annual open market value as of 1st April 2015.
The party entitled to possession of the premises is responsible for paying business rates. This will usually be the owner or the tenant. Sometimes, the landlord of the property charges the occupier rent that includes an amount for the business rates.
Yes, in theory, we can make an appeal for you. However, we need more detail from you before we can take it further. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with details of your property, including the address, a copy of your lease if you rent the business space, and a copy of your current rate bill to review. We need to ensure the VOA is not missing any improvements you have undertaken to the premises, e.g. air conditioning or extensions, as your assessment can increase.
You can work out your business rates bill by multiplying the rateable value of your property by the rating multiplier, including any supplements, and then adjusting it for any discounts, reductions or transitional arrangements, which apply to you.
Although your local council calculate and collect your business rates, they cannot change your rateable value or your multiplier - these are nationally set.
Small business rate relief differs depending on the country you are in.
ENGLAND - You can qualify for small business rate relief if your property’s rateable value is less than £15,000 and your business only uses one property - you may still be able to get relief if you use more. You may not pay rates on a property with a rateable value of £12,000 or less. If your property has a rateable value below £51,000, your bill will be calculated using the small business multiplier. In April 2019, the multiplier was 49.1p against the standard 50.4p.
WALES – From April 2018, the Welsh government introduced a permanent small business rate relief scheme. This exempts eligible business premises with a rateable value of up to £6,000 from paying rates altogether. Business premises with a rateable value between £6,001 and £12,000 receive relief that is reduced on a taper; decreasing by 1% for every £60 of rateable value over £6,000. Businesses with multiple premises will be able to receive relief on two properties per local authority.
SCOTLAND – the Small Business Bonus Scheme (SBBS) gives non-domestic rate relief if:
- The combined rateable value of all your premises is £35,000 or less
- The rateable value of individual premises is £18,000 or less
Contact us to discuss the vacation so we can ensure you get any relief you are entitled to. We can also help to mitigate your liability.
Hardship is a rate relief that may be offered at the discretion of your local authority to ratepayers who are suffering financial hardship in payment of their business rates. We can assist with the paperwork and negotiations with your local council.
Yes, Section 44A relief is a temporary relief that may be awarded to business ratepayers who are only using part of their premises and the remaining unoccupied area is completely unused. We can assist with the paperwork and negotiations with your local council.
A revaluation of the rateable values of non-domestic properties is undertaken by the VOA (England & Wales) and the Assessor (Scotland); this usually take place every five years. The purpose of a revaluation is to update the rateable value in line with changes in the property market.
Yes, if you don’t pay your rates to the council, they could apply to the magistrates’ court for a liability order.
If you don’t pay the amount on the rate demand, or the follow-up reminders within seven days, the council will demand the full outstanding amount. If you do not pay the full balance, the council will start legal proceedings and apply to the magistrates’ court for a liability order.
Contact your local council to inform them of your vacation and occupation of new space, to avoid getting rate bills on both sites. We can help further, particularly, if you still have a lease on your former premises.
You do not usually have to pay business rates for home-based businesses if you use a small part of your home for your business, for example, if you use a bedroom as an office, or sell goods by post.
You may need to pay business rates as well as council tax if:
- Your property is part business and part domestic, for example, if you live above your shop
- You sell goods or services to people who visit your property
- You employ other people to work at your property
- You’ve made changes to your home for your business, for example, converted a garage to a hairdressers
At the present time, the next revaluation in England and Wales is due on the 1st April 2021. The revaluation in Scotland is due on 1st April 2022. They are both due to last three years.