How to get a business rates reduction at your pub

By Don Baker

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Business rates Business rates in england and wales

Readies: giving evidence of turnover will help show that a rating assessment is excessive
Readies: giving evidence of turnover will help show that a rating assessment is excessive
All businesses in the leisure sector are facing hefty business rates charges, none more so than pubs. The annual increase in rates bills is running at odds with the wider economic conditions — property values and turnover are falling while business rates continue to climb. etting a reduction 

The problem has been compounded by the Government’s postponement of the next revaluation from 2015 to 2017. This means that licensees will continue to pay business rates based on turnover figures estimated on 1 April 2008 for an extra two years.

Compile the evidence

Providing evidence of turnover is the best way to demonstrate that a rating assessment is excessive.

The more evidence that is available, the easier it is to argue for a reduction.

Normally the turnover for rating purposes is estimated from three years’ accounts, although it is also important to demonstrate trends from a decline in business affected by an external change within the locality.

Monitor the success of the local area

A business can be entitled to make an appeal if the circumstances around the property have materially changed. For example, a new development or redevelopment may have affected patterns of trade, or a declining high street could have impacted on customer footfall — both of which can be grounds for a successful business rates appeal.

Events outside your control can be grounds for appeal

Unfortunate events happen, and any licensed premises that has had the misfortune to experience a fire, flood or vandalism that severely affects ‘business as usual’ may be entitled to a reduction in its rates bill. It need not be directly within the property either.

Significant public work lasting more than six months undertaken around a pub that affects trade — roadworks or water or electricity repairs — can be used to help lower a rates bill. The key thing is to log the impact of the work on turnover as evidence to support the claims.

Act early

There are currently more than 240,000 business rates appeals outstanding at the Valuation Office Agency, many from the 2005 Rating List. In our experience appeals can take up to a year to be processed and negotiated and, unfortunately, this can be too long for some firms. My advice is, therefore, to start early on reducing business rates liabilities.

Related topics Property law

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