Business rates

Operators urged to ‘check, challenge and appeal’ business rates

By Nicole Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Business rates Real estate Taxation in the united kingdom

Help: BNP Paribas have advice on how to deal with the upcoming revaluation
Help: BNP Paribas have advice on how to deal with the upcoming revaluation
BNP Paribas Real Estate urged delegates at the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailer’s (ALMR) Autumn Conference to be aware of their rights when it comes to business rates.

Head of leisure Nigel Ball and head of business rates Emily Francis discussed the latest changes in rateable values and how to make the most of the 2010 and the upcoming revaluation on 1 April 2017.

Francis said: “Checking is about correcting facts, so make sure your floor areas are right, make sure allowances are there and make sure you aren’t stitching yourself up by correcting errors that the valuation office may have missed that could increase your liability.

She added that the correcting stage is about correcting factual errors and making sure things are correct.

The valuation office is still ironing out how they will be using the system and there is still work to do, but they remain positive about the new system, Francis added.

The first revaluation in seven years will see London pubs among the hardest hit​ when it comes into play in April.

Frivolous and multiple appeals

Ball said: “On average, values have increased in London and decreased outside the city but that masks a wide variation of changes.

“The ones that have increased, have risen too much and the ones that have decreased haven’t fallen enough.

“The Government wants to discourage frivolous and multiple appeals so it is a fairly convoluted process, but there are ways to use it to your advantage.

He emphasised that business rates​ shouldn’t be based on the operator who occupies the site but the property itself.

He said: “Business rates​ are a property tax, not a tax on sales, so if you are a successful business, you should not be penalised for your success with a higher rateable value.”

Ball also informed the audience that some may be able to pay zero or discounted rates.

He added: “Small businesses with a very low rateable value will not pay rates below £12,000 and those below £51,000 will pay a reduced level of rate, although that discount is very small. 

“There's transitional relief, which is the Government's scheme to cap any increases you might pay on an annual basis.”

Opportunity for refund

Francis urged delegates to ensure any appeals relating to the 2010 list should be lodged straight away as there was still time to adjust those figures.

She said: “If you don’t do everything you can now to reduce your liability, it will affect you in the next five years.

She urged delegates to be vigilant with what was going on in their areas: “Keep monitoring the changes in the locality of your property – if there are roadworks outside, a new competitor, building works, they could all potentially have a long-term effect on your business.

“There is an opportunity to correct errors in the draft rateable value and don’t believe the billing authorities – they don’t want to reprint rates bills if you do manage to change your draft rateable value.”

Francis also pressed operators to consider a historic business rates audit as it can mean cash back on properties that have changed hands.

She said: “If you start a historical rates audit, it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong or something you haven’t done, but there’s often in case law and legislation, something you can go and apply years down the line for a property you haven’t owned for a long time and get money off it.

“The worst-case scenario is you come back with a clean bill of health and you’ll be told all the liabilities, past and present, are accurate.

“The best case scenario is that you get a refund.”

Related topics Legislation

Related news

Show more