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Business Rates

Top Tips - Preparing for Business Rates Overhaul

Business rates have been a hot topic over recent years with the business community criticising the structure of the scheme and the burden upon business owners. The Government consultation has now been concluded and the rates review is set to commence on 1st April 2017.

Here are our tips for preparing your business:

  • Ensure that you keep accurate information regarding rent, trading receipts and trading patterns. The VOA analyse this information alongside considering the type of premises and the area it is in to determine the “fair maintainable trade” which determines the rateable value. Also, if you receive a form from the VOA requesting details of trade, be sure to complete and return this as a failure to do so within 56 days could result in a £100 fine;
  • You may be eligible for a temporary reduction in your business rates if your premises are affected by severe local disruption such as flooding, building or road works which have a detrimental impact upon your business. Whilst compensation is not payable, you can appeal to the VOA for a temporary reduction in rates;
  • Material changes to your premises e.g. structural changes or circumstances such as competitors opening nearby which have affected your trade could lead to a reduction in rates if you are able to prove that the changes to your premises or opening of the new premises is the reason for a reduction in trade, affecting the rental value. You can appeal to the VOA on this basis. If you are not happy with the outcome of the appeal, you can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal. However you should ensure that you are prepared for the risk of your rating being increased upon appeal rather than reduced. It is best to consult a ratings expert before challenging your valuation; and
  • Check with your local Council whether you are eligible for rate relief. There are a number of categories such as small business rate relief and rural rate relief which could potentially reduce your business rates liability or potentially, exempt your premises all together.

John Webber, Head of Rating at Colliers International confirms:

“For pub landlords, it’s time to get organised. The government is due to publish its revised business rates list in September and we are expecting big changes with increases across London and much of the South East. And with so many cowboy business rates advisers, if you want to appeal your new business rates bill, then make sure you use a business you can trust for the best advice. It is time to start planning.”

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