Following the government's 2014 Autumn Statement, what does this mean to operators and what does the future hold for Business Rates?
Business Rates is the third highest outgoing and is an extremely contentious issue when discussed amongst operators. The current 2010 Rating List has seen significant changes, not only due to a more bureaucratic appeal process, but also the coalition's controversial postponement of the revaluation until 1st April 2017.
George Osborne has recently delivered his Autumn Statement and we are now almost two years away from the long awaited revaluation. So what has changed? We hear continual noises from the coalition about a reform of the Business Rates system, however we are still unclear about what the future holds for this controversial form of taxation.
What we do know however, is that the coalition has now responded to consultations that took place in early 2014 on the administration of the Business Rates system. Questions have also been posed around the appeals system, the exchange and gathering of information, and the frequency of revaluations.
From the consultation, the coalition has concluded that the consensus is for individual property valuations, rather than a more 'broad brush' approach such as banding or zoning. The Valuation Office Agency will also continue to work with specialist sectors such as hotels and pubs to ensure valuation methods are transparent and can be more easily understood.
Is there any hope for the ratepayer in the short term?
Unfortunately very little. The way Rateable Values are assessed will be unchanged and the approach to valuations will continue in the usual way until at least after the May 2015 general election when, hopefully, the party or parties in power make their intentions clear.
In the meantime, ratepayers need to be proactive to ensure that their liabilities are managed to keep bills to a minimum. Complexities resulting from stop-gap tinkering with the system mean it is complicated and reduction opportunities can easily be missed.
What does the ratepayer need to know following the 2014 Autumn Statement?
The main concern for the ratepayer is that the coalition will change the rules so that alterations to rateable values can only be backdated to the period between the 1st April 2010 and the 1st April 2015 for Valuation Office Agency alterations made before 1st April 2016 and ratepayers' appeals made before 1st April 2015.
Appeals to challenge must therefore be lodged before 31st March 2015 if any retrospective benefit is to be gained. Thereafter, appeals lodged will be financially backdated only to 1st April 2015, regardless of how long the ratepayer has been in occupation. On a slightly more positive note, the Chancellor announced that the discount for pubs, cafés and retailers with rateable values below £50,000 will be increased by £500 to £1,500 in 2015.
Fleurets can help you save money!
Your Rateable Value can be appealed if it is too high and if you appeal before 31st March 2015 this may enable your business to enjoy savings until the 2017 revaluation. Over the duration of the 2010 Rating List Fleurets have achieved rates savings over £9m and over 500 successful Business Rates reductions.
For advice on your rating assessment please call Ben Peers on 020 7280 4738 or email firstname.lastname@example.org