Previous Page

Business Rates

Business Rates 3.00/5 (60.00%) 1 vote
Wednesday 12th June 2019 No Comments »
Business Rates

Overview

Business rates are taxes to help pay for local services. They’re charged on most non-domestic properties (including commercial), eg:

  • Shops
  • Offices
  • Pubs
  • Warehouses
  • Factories

You’ll probably have to pay business rates if you use a building or part of a building for non-domestic purposes.

What to pay and when

Your local council will send you a business rates bill in February or March each year. This is for the following tax year. You can also estimate your business rates bill.

Relief schemes

You may be able to get business rates relief. This is sometimes automatic, but you’ll need to apply through your local council in some cases.

The process depends on where you are:

  • Business rates relief in England
  • Business rates relief in Scotland
  • Business rates relief in Wales
  • Business rates relief in Northern Ireland

Who doesn’t need to pay

Exemptions include:

  • Farm buildings and land (excluding buildings used as offices or for other business activities)
  • Fish farms
  • Places of public religious worship (except in Scotland – you apply for relief for these buildings instead of being exempt)
  • Buildings used for training or welfare of disabled people (except in Scotland – you apply for relief for these buildings instead of being exempt)

How your rates are calculated

England and Wales

Business rates are worked out by multiplying the ‘rateable value’ of your property (set by the Valuation Office Agency) by the business rates multiplier (set by central government).

Scotland

Business rates are worked out using the rateable value set by the local assessor and the ‘poundage rate’ (a proportion of your rateable value) set by the Scottish Government.

The rateable value of a property is based on its estimated open market rental value on a specific date You may pay less than this if you’re eligible for any reliefs.

If you think your rates are wrong

If you’re in England or Wales, contact the VOA.

Valuation Office Agency
03000 501 501 (England)
03000 505 505 (Wales)

If you’re in Scotland, contact your local assessor – you can look them up on the Scottish Assessors Association website.

Revaluation

Revaluation usually takes place every 5 years to reflect changes in the property market. The most recent revaluation in England and Wales was 1 April 2010. The next revaluations will be in:

  • 2017 in England
  • 2015 in Northern Ireland

At revaluation, the multipliers (poundages in Scotland) are revised so that the overall national business rates bill only changes in line with inflation. This means that a change in your rateable value doesn’t always mean a change in your bill.

To make sure your valuations are accurate, you must give the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) or your assessor up-to-date rental evidence for your property at revaluation.

Getting professional advice

In England and Wales, you can query your rateable value by contacting the Valuation Office Agency. There’s no charge for this. You can also get help from professional organisations that can put you in touch with a qualified rating surveyor. They will normally belong to one of the following organisations:

  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
  • Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation (IRRV)
  • Rating Surveyors Association

You may be charged for any advice you get from a rating surveyor right from the start.

You can call the RICS enquiry line on 0870 333 1600 for advice from a local chartered surveyor. The first 30 minutes are free. In Scotland, you can also query your rateable value by calling your local assessor’s office. There’s no charge for this.

If your business or premises change

Your business rates could change if:

  • You move or make changes to your premises
  • The nature of your business changes

You must report any changes to ensure you’re paying the right amount and don’t get a backdated increase in your bill. Report changes to:

  • The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) in England or Wales
  • Your local assessor in Scotland

Valuation Office Agency
03000 501 501 (England)
03000 505 505 (Wales)

If you’re moving to new premises, you can find out how much the rateable value is in England or Wales or in Scotland.

Working from home

If you work at home, you may have to pay business rates on the part of your property that you use. This depends on whether the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) – or local assessor in Scotland – has given a rateable value to a part of your home. You’ll still have to pay Council Tax on the rest of your property. Contact the VOA if you’re not sure if you should be paying business rates or not. In Scotland, contact your local assessor.

Valuation Office Agency
03000 501 501 (England)
03000 505 505 (Wales)

Pubs and licensed trade

In England and Wales, the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) works out your rateable value based on the annual level of trade that a pub is expected to achieve if operated in a reasonably efficient way. This is called ‘fair maintainable trade’ and it’s based on:

  • The type of pub or licensed premises
  • The area it’s in
  • The services it offers (eg food, gaming, sports screenings)

The VOA also looks at rents and turnovers to work out the fair maintainable trade figure, then applies a percentage to work out the rateable value.

The percentages are agreed with the British Beer and Pub Association and they’re in the VOA’s 2010 pub guide. Contact the VOA if you want to check the figures they’re using or don’t agree with the figures being used. You’ll need to provide details of turnover (excluding VAT) for all sources, such as liquor, food and gaming.

Valuation Office Agency
03000 501 501 (England)
03000 505 505 (Wales)

Scotland

In Scotland, your local assessor works out your rateable value. If you want to check the figures they’re using or don’t agree with the figures being used, contact your local assessor.

Self-catering and holiday let accommodation

If your property is in England and available to let for 140 days or more a year, it will be rated as a self-catering property and valued for business rates. If your property is in Wales and both available to let for 140 days or more a year and actually let for 70 days, it will be rated as a self-catering property and valued for business rates.

The VOA (or local assessor in Scotland) then applies a price per bed space on each property, based on its type, size and location, to produce its rateable value.

Single bed space is the term used to describe how many people can sleep in the property.

Contact the VOA or the local assessor if you think:

  • They are using the wrong number of single bed spaces to value your property
  • Your property has changed and can now sleep a different number of guests

Valuation Office Agency
03000 501 501 (England)
03000 505 505 (Wales)

At Bizorb we aim to provide the most accurate and up to date information to you. This article contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0. If you spot any errors in this article please let us know.

What do you think?