developing coherent strategies to protect your bottom line

Business Rates Advice

Matthews & Goodman has been helping clients manage and mitigate business rates for more than 150 years.

We work with landlords and tenants in both the private and public sector. Our long-standing relationships with our clients are underpinned by a simple fact - we have helped them to save millions of pounds in business rates year after year.

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.

How We Can Help

Our Business Rates consultancy team specialises solely in advising clients on their Business Rates liabilities. The team’s deep expertise extends over a wide range of properties and sectors, including office space, industrial, retail premises and specialist properties.

We provide the following services:

  • 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.

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 reduce business rates 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.

What are Business Rates?

Business rates are a tax on property used for any non-domestic purpose. They are charged on most non-domestic properties, such as offices, shops, pubs and warehouses.

How are Business Rates Calculated?

Business rates are calculated based on the rateable value of commercial property. 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.

A revaluation of the rateable values of non-domestic properties is usually undertaken every five years by the VOA and assessor. The purpose of a revaluation is to update the rateable value in line with changes in the property market. The next revaluation in England and Wales is due on 1st April 2023, while Scotland’s revaluation is due on 1st April 2023. They are both due to last three years.

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 transactional arrangements that apply to you.

Although your local council calculates and collects your business rates, they cannot change your rateable value or your multiplier - these are set nationally.

What is the Business Rates Appeals Process?

The three-stage process “Check, Challenge, Appeal” is an attempt to reduce the number of appeals. We have provided a step-by-step guide to what you need to do in light of these changes:

  1. Provide details on rent and lease

If you pay business rates, you should have received a request for information to ascertain the rateable value of your property. It is vital that you respond to this document, as failing to do so could result in a fine.

  1. Wait for your rateable value to be checked

The valuation office will check if the information (floor areas, tenure details and rent) you have provided is correct. The VOA has 12 months to conduct the check - if any of the information is false, you may face a fine.

  1. Challenge your business rates assessment

If the result of the check suggests that you have received an inaccurate assessment, you can apply to challenge the rateable value, which must be completed within four months of the end of the check process.

You must provide your own valuation supported by rental evidence, a complete argument that justifies the appeal and, if necessary, any relevant case law and legislation.

The VOA has 18 months to consider the challenge. If no resolution is reached, then you must proceed to the appeal stage.

  1. Make an appeal to the valuation tribunal

You must make an appeal within four months of the valuation office issuing their decision notice at the end of the challenge stage. The evidence provided in the challenge must also be used in relation to the appeal, which is why it is vital that the submission is correct.

Matthews & Goodman’s business rate advisors are business rates appeal specialists. They can help you through the entire appeals process, ensuring that you receive an accurate new rating assessment.

Why Choose Matthews & Goodman

Not only are our business rates advisors approachable, they provide honest, reliable and concise advice that aims to reduce business rates and save you money, while achieving the best possible outcome. As a firm which has been operating for more than 150 years, our clients are assured that the advice we provide is based on extensive knowledge and proven experience.

Matthews & Goodman’s dedicated team of business rates advisors cover the whole of the country from our offices in Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester. We protect the interests of our clients, keeping their costs and liabilities to a minimum while ensuring they stand the best possible chance of achieving their desired outcome.

Our business rates consultancy team 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.

At the present time, the next revaluation in England and Wales is due on the 1st April 2023. The revaluation in Scotland is also due on 1st April 2023. They are both due to last three years.

Case Studies

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

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