Are you ready for 2017?

Business Rates Revaluation, 2017

All commercial premises in England and Wales are currently being revalued by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).  The Valuation Office Agency is an executive agency of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the new rateable values will be used to calculate your business rates liability over the next 5 years.

These new rateable values will come into effect on 1st April 2017 but a draft rating list will be published on 30th September 2016.  This gives ratepayers or their agents six months to identify any factual errors for the VOA to correct before the list is used to calculate your new business rates bill from 1st April 2017.

Contact us for more advice on checking your business rates liabilities.

From 1st April 2017 ratepayers will be able to challenge the Rateable Value of their premises.  We strongly recommend that you have a professional business rates specialist such as ourselves deal with this on your behalf.

The VOA have introduced a new process which is known as ‘Check, Challenge, Appeal’ which is designed to limit the number of speculative appeals submitted and ensure that challenges to the rating valuation is more evidence based.  These three stages must be completed sequentially and there are time limits between each step.

  • CHECK – In this stage we can review the facts on which your valuation is based and gather evidence to support a reduction. If the Valuation Office Agency accepts our factual argument they will amend the rateable value which will result in a saving on your business rates bill. If the facts are still in dispute we will proceed to the next stage on your behalf.
  • CHALLENGE – We have the experience and expertise to deal with the Valuation Office on your behalf and present evidence, such as accurate and relevant information on comparable properties, to support a revised valuation. If an agreement still can’t be reached following our discussions with the Valuation Office then, with your permission, we will proceed to the next stage.
  • APPEAL – We will represent you in an appeal to the Valuation Tribunal which will require comprehensive evidence supporting our case for a reduction.  In the past there has been no charge for taking a case to the Tribunal, but under the new scheme the Tribunal require a payment of up to £300.  This will be returned if the appeal is successful.

Business Rates is one of your biggest business expenses.  The new rating list will affect how much you pay over the next five years.  Please contact us to see how we can help to keep this cost to a minimum.

Changes to Business Rates 2020

In his speech to the Conservative conference in October 2015, the Chancellor, George Osborne, announced that by 2020 councils in England will be able to keep 100% of the proceeds from business rates raised in their area. Under the current system councils keep 50% and rest goes to central government.

This will be the biggest change to business rates in 25 years

In addition, the Uniform Business Rate (UBR), which currently applies to the whole of England will be abolished. Councils will be able to set their own “Rate in the Pound” which means that the occupier of a property with a Rateable Value of 50,000 in one area, might not pay the same amount of business rates as the occupier of a property with the same Rateable Value in a different area.

Under the proposal local authorities will be able to charge lower business rates but they won’t be able charge higher business rates (higher than what is not yet clear). The exception to this is where there is a directly elected mayor the authority will be able to increase the rate by up to 2p in the pound to finance infrastructure, but only if businesses vote in favour of the increase.

A lot can happen between now and 2020, and there will still be a rating revaluation in 2017, but whatever happens, business rates will continue to be one of the highest outgoings for any business.

For help and advice on reducing your business rates please contact us

ASR warns business rates changes are no joke

The long-awaited revaluation of Business Rates has prompted a warning from a specialist in reducing liabilities.

Adrian Smith Rating (ASR) says businesses should prepare now for publication in September of the draft 2017 Rateable Values – when they should consider how to budget and whether to challenge.

Adrian, who founded the company and has more than 40 years’ experience advising on rates issues in the public and private sectors, said the delay in making the changes means some businesses may not be aware of the implications.

He said: “Revaluation of Business Rates usually comes around every five years, but even though the last one was back in 2010 the next will not be until April 1 next year.

“Despite the date, business owners can be sure this will be no joke. Many significant economic events have occurred since the last revaluation and they could have a major impact when it comes to assessing a fair rateable value.”

The Valuation Office Agency have completed the 2017 Rateable Values (RVs) for non-domestic properties in England and Wales based on rental values at April 1 last year. The Department for Community and Local Government is currently reviewing the Rateable Value data and undertaking statistical analysis, and the new RVs will be published in September.

Adrian said: “If you pay business rates then this process will mean they will almost certainly change. They could go up or down and the change could be substantial. They will certainly influence business budget decisions and they may warrant an appeal, particularly if errors have been made, so we are offering a free initial consultation to help business owners understand how they will be affected by the changes.”