developing coherent strategies to protect your bottom line

Business Rates Advice

Our Business Rates team helps clients manage and mitigate their business rates risks.

Whether working with landlords or tenants, in either the private or public sector, there is only one thing we do: we help clients save money.

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How we can help

Our Business Rates team has extensive experience and specific expertise which extends over a wide range of properties and sectors - including office space, industrial, retail premises and specialist properties.

We focus on:

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

Current economic uncertainties and the recently introduced appeals procedure makes it even more difficult for occupiers to develop a coherent strategy to reduce business rates liabilities. This is where we can help.

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 Rates you pay - any one of which could make a significant difference to your bottom line.

Business Rates are a central government tax levied on the occupants of commercial and industrial properties (eg offices, shops, pubs and warehouses).

Business Rates are based on the Rateable Value (RV) of the property. The government sets a multiplier (a pence-in-the-pound value), which is then applied to the RV.

In England and Wales, the RV is based on the rental value of the property in the open market, as calculated on 1 April 2017 - an estimate calculated by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). In Scotland, the Scottish assessor sets the rateable value.

A revaluation of the RV for commercial properties is usually undertaken every five years – in order to align it with current market values. The next revaluation in England, Scotland and Wales is due in 2023.

Although your local council calculates and collects your Business Rates (on behalf of central government), they cannot change your RV or your multiplier - these are set nationally.

In April 2017, the Government introduced a new ‘Check, Challenge, Appeal’ process, designed to reduce the number of appeals the VOA has to deal with.

It comprises:

  • Check

The VOA will review the factual information provided (such as floor areas) for accuracy – against its own record of the property.

The VOA has 12-months to complete a ‘Check’: if any of the information is false, the ratepayer could face a fine.

  • Challenge

If the ratepayer concludes that the assessment remains high after the ‘Check’ stage, the RV (on which the assessment is based) can be challenged. This must be completed within four months of the end of the checking process.

The ‘Challenge’ must include a valuation of the premises supported by evidence. It is important that the appeal comprises a comprehensive and well-articulated argument, as referencing relevant case law and legislation.

The VOA has 18-months to consider the Challenge. If no resolution is reached, the case may be escalated to the ‘Appeal’ stage.

  • Appeal

An ‘Appeal’ must be made to the Valuation Tribunal within four months of the VOA issuing its decision at the end of the ‘Challenge’ stage. The evidence submitted in the Challenge process, must also be used at the ‘Appeal’ - which is why the accuracy and cogency of evidence submitted, is vital.

Why choose Matthews & Goodman

Our Business Rates Advisors’ sole focus is to reduce clients’ Business Rates bills and save them money.

Advising clients across the nation, from our offices in Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester, the team’s proven expertise and track record ensures that clients stand the best possible chance of achieving their desired outcome. View some of our recent case studies.

The team also works closely with other specialists at Matthews & Goodman to ensure that clients benefit from integrated strategic property advice.

To speak to a member of the Business Rates Advice team today, contact us by calling one of our UK offices, or complete our online enquiry form and we will get straight back to you.

FAQs

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.<

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.

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.

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.

Yes, in theory, we can make an appeal for you. However, we need more detail from you before we can take it further. Contact info@matthews-goodman.co.uk 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 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

If you are not sure if you should be paying business rates, get in touch with our advisers today.

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:

  1. The combined rateable value of all your premises is £35,000 or less
  2. The rateable value of individual premises is £18,000 or less

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.

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, if you don’t pay your rates to the council, they could apply to the magistrates’ court for a liability order.

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.

The next revaluation will come into effect on 1 April 2023, based on rateable values from 1 April 2021.

Case Studies

We have many clients who have succesfully used our services - these are some of their stories

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