Non-Domestic Rates, or business rates, collected by local authorities are the way that those who occupy non-domestic property contribute towards the cost of local services. Under the business rates retention arrangements introduced from 1 April 2013, authorities keep a proportion of the business rates paid locally. This provides a direct financial incentive for authorities to work with local businesses to create a favourable local environment for growth since authorities will benefit from growth in business rates revenues. The money, together with revenue from council taxpayers and certain other sums, is used to pay for the services provided by local authorities in your area. Further information about the business rates system, including transitional and other reliefs, may be obtained at www.gov.uk
Apart from properties that are exempt from business rates, each non-domestic property has a rateable value which is set by the valuation officers of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an agency of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. They draw up and maintain a full list of all rateable values, available at www.gov.uk The rateable value of your property is shown on the front of your bill. This broadly represents the yearly rent the property could have been let for on the open market on a particular date. For the revaluation that came into effect on 1 April 2017, this date was set as 1 April 2015. For the 2023 revaluation the date has been set as 1 April 2021.
The valuation officer may alter the value if circumstances change. The ratepayer (and certain others who have an interest in the property) can request a change to the value shown in the list if they believe it is wrong, through the reformed Check, Challenge and Appeal (CCA) process introduced in April 2017.
Full details on the CCA process are available from the VOA or from www.gov.uk. Your billing authority can only backdate any business rates rebate to the date from which any change to the list is to have effect.
Further information about the grounds on which appeals may be made and the process for doing so can be found on the www.gov.uk website.
National Non-Domestic Rating Multiplier
The local authority works out the business rates bill by multiplying the rateable value of the property by the appropriate multiplier. There are two multipliers: the standard non-domestic rating multiplier and the small business non-domestic rating multiplier. The former is higher to pay for small business rate relief. Except in the City of London where special arrangements apply, the Government sets the multipliers for each financial year for the whole of England according to formulae set by legislation. The current multipliers are shown on the front of your bill.
Business Rates Instalments
Payment of business rate bills is automatically set on a 10-monthly cycle. However, the Government has put in place regulations that allow businesses to require their local authority to enable payments to be made through 12 monthly instalments. If you wish to take up this offer, you should contact the local authority as soon as possible.
Revaluation 2023 and Transitional Arrangements (2023)
All rateable values are reassessed at a general revaluation. The next revaluation will come into place on 1 April 2023. Revaluations make sure each ratepayer pays their fair contribution and no more, by ensuring that the share of the national rates bill paid by any one ratepayer reflects changes over time in the value of their property relative to others.
A transitional relief scheme limits changes in rate bills as a result of the (2023) revaluation. Under the transitional scheme, limits continue to apply to yearly increases until the full amount is due (rateable value times the appropriate multiplier). The scheme applies only to the bill based on a property at the time of the revaluation. If there are any changes to the property after (2023), transitional arrangements will not normally apply to the part of a bill that relates to any increase in rateable value due to those changes.
Changes to your bill as a result of other reasons (such as changes to the amount of small business rate relief) are not covered by the transitional arrangements. The transitional arrangements are applied automatically and are shown on the front of your bill. Further information about transitional arrangements and other reliefs may be obtained from your local authority or the website www.gov.uk/introduction-to-business-rates. More information on the 2017 revaluation can be found at www.gov.uk/introduction-to-business-rates/revaluation
At the Autumn Statement on 17 November 2022, the government announced a new transitional relief scheme. The scheme for 2023/24 will restrict increases in bills to 5% for business with small properties (up to and including £20,000 rateable value, 15% for rateable values between £20001 up to £100,000 and 30% for rateable values over 1000,000).
Unoccupied Property Rating
Business rates will not be payable in the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain industrial properties. After this period rates are payable in full. In most cases the unoccupied property rate is zero for properties owned by charities and community amateur sports clubs. In addition, there are a number of exemptions from the unoccupied property rate. Full details on exemptions can be obtained from your local authority.
Partly Occupied Property Relief
A ratepayer is liable for the full non-domestic rate whether a property is wholly occupied or only partly occupied. Where a property is partly occupied for a short time, the local authority has discretion in certain cases to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part. Full details can be obtained from the local authority.
Supporting Small Business Rate Relief Scheme
At the 2022 Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced that the 2023 Supporting Small Business (SSB) scheme will cap bill increases at £600 per year for any business losing eligibility for some or all Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief at the 2023 revaluation. SSB was first introduced at the 2017 revaluation to support ratepayers facing bill increases greater than the Transitional Relief caps due to the loss of Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief.
As per The Autumn Statement on 17 November 2022 (New Scheme published 21 December 2022). The 2023/24 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Rates Relief Scheme
will provide to eligible occupied retail, hospitality and leisure properties in 2023/24 with a 75% relief up to a cash cap limit of £100.000 per business.
In line with the conditions set by the government, a ratepayer may only claim up to £110,000 of support under the 2023/24 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Relief Scheme for all of their eligible hereditaments. This cash cap applies at a Group company level (so holding companies and subsidiaries cannot claim up to the cash cap for each company) and also to organisations that, although not a company, have such an interest in a company that they would, if they were a company, resulting in its being the holding company.
Local authorities have a general power to grant discretionary local discounts. Full details can be obtained from the local authority.
The local authority has the discretion to give hardship relief in specific circumstances. Full details can be obtained from the local authority.
Ratepayers do not have to be represented in discussions about their rateable value or their rates bill. However, ratepayers who do wish to be represented should be aware that members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation are qualified and are regulated by rules of professional conduct designed to protect the public from misconduct. Before you employ a rating adviser, you should check that they have the necessary knowledge and expertise, as well as appropriate indemnity insurance.
What is the Rateable Value?
The rateable value is assessed by the Valuation Office Agency, which is an agency of HM Revenue and Customs.
A property's rateable value is an assessment of the annual rent the property would rent for if it were available to let on the open market at a fixed valuation date.
- Until 31 March 2017, the rateable values will be based on a valuation date of 1 April 2008.
- From 1 April 2017, the rateable values will be based on the valuation date of 1 April 2015.
If you think your rateable value is incorrect, you can find and view your property details:
The Valuation Office Agency, which is part of the Inland Revenue, sets the rateable value of a property. The rateable value is shown on the front of the bill. The figure broadly represents the yearly rent that a property could have been let for in the open market on a particular date. For the revaluation that came into effect on 1 April 2023, this date was 1 April 2021. You can find more information on how rateable value is calculated by visiting the Valuation Office Agency website.
Business Rates will not be payable for the first three months that a property is empty. After the 3-month period rates will be charged at 100% unless the property is exempt e.g. Listed buildings, empty properties owned by charities and community amateur sports clubs (NB. Industrial property will be exempt for 6 months), or has a rateable value of less than the following limits (see table below):-
Up to 31 March 2009
1 April 2009 - 31 March 2010
1 April 2010 - 31 March 2011
From 1 April 2011 - 31 March 2017
From 1 April 2017