Business rates review delayed until autumn

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Publication postponed: the business rates review has been postponed until later in the year in the hope there will be more economic certainty in the autumn
Publication postponed: the business rates review has been postponed until later in the year in the hope there will be more economic certainty in the autumn

Related tags: Business rates, Property, Government, Finance, Treasury, Chancellor

The Government’s final report on the fundamental review of businesses rates has been pushed back until the autumn.

The continuing impact of the coronavirus pandemic was blamed for the delay, though hopes remain that more clarity on the long-term state of the economy and public finances will be delivered later in the year.

The review was first announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak at last year’s Budget and a call for evidence followed in July 2020 in a bid to seek stakeholders’ views on key issues including reforming the rates multiplier and looking at alternative ways of taxing non-residential property.

The call for evidence closed last year and the Government is currently considering responses, it said.

Interim report

An interim report however, will be published next month (23 March) and will include a summary of responses to the call for evidence, alongside a number of tax documents, consultations and calls for evidences on a wide-range of tax-related issues.

Real estate adviser Altus Group UK president of property tax Robert Hayton said: “The freeze to the multiplier and a discerning targeted extension to the rates holiday from 1 April buys the Chancellor time to develop a coherent strategy to taxing the digital economy in the long term.”

The group also stated this week, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government revised upwards the cost of the business rates holiday for occupied retail, leisure and hospitality venues during 2020/21 to help offset the economic impact of the pandemic to £11.06bn in England.

National newspapers have reported the Chancellor is expected to extend the holiday at the upcoming Budget on 3 March.

Relief signal

Furthermore, councils were urged not to issue business rates bills​ ahead of the new financial year on 1 April until after the Budget.

This suggests the Chancellor could be announcing further support for commercial properties, according to Altus Group.

Usually, as billing authorities, councils would start issuing and sending out yearly business rates bills this month (February) ahead of the new financial year on 1 April.

According to Altus Group, Treasury financial secretary Jesse Norman said councils should “consider issuing business rates bills after the Chancellor has set out his plan at the Budget”, adding “it is in the public interest to avoid any potential confusion for businesses and to avoid the cost of having to re-bill businesses in light of any measures that may be included in the Budget”.

Related topics: Property law

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