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If my business rates seem too high, can they be revalued?

Written by: Craig Newton on Wednesday 25/11/2015

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In England and Wales, business rates are based on the rateable value of non-domestic premises. Once set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), the rateable value usually applies for a period of five years.

A business rates ‘multiplier’ is also set by the government, and used to arrive at the amount due for each non-residential building. If you disagree with the valuation applied to your premises, there are some routes available for appeal.

Initially, you need to contact the VOA with the reasons why you feel the valuation is incorrect, but it’s worth remembering that there is no guarantee it will be altered in your favour.

The next step would be business rates appeals which is an area Eddisons has vast experience in.

Can business rates be revalued?

Business premises are generally revalued every five years to take account of ups and downs in the property market. As the last revaluation took place in 2010, the next one was expected to be in 2015.

Unfortunately for many businesses, the 2015 revaluation has been postponed until 2017 for England, Scotland and Wales, meaning that most commercial premises will retain the value applied in 2010.

But will a revaluation make a difference to your business rates bill?

A delay in revaluation is not going to reflect current property market values, and many small business owners have objected to this postponement. But even if the value of some premises was reduced should the 2015 revaluation have gone ahead, the government’s general premise with this system is to maintain a neutral financial position overall.

Their intention is to only increase the total national bill for business rates in line with inflation, and they achieve this by adjusting the business rate multiplier accordingly. Some business owners may be disappointed with the result, therefore, even after a revaluation has taken place.

More about appeals to the Valuation Office Agency

If your rates seem to be excessive and the VOA does not agree that they should be changed, you can lodge an appeal. Prior to this, you need to ensure that the details used to value your premises are correct.

If not, you can request that they are changed, and also check your valuation against other similar properties in your area.

There are various grounds for appealing the rateable value of your premises, including:

  • An incorrect valuation
  • Failure to include material changes in the property valuation that have not been taken into account
  • Changes to the property have been incorrectly documented by the Valuation Office Agency

In most cases, you only have recourse for one appeal, so it pays to make sure that all your facts and figures are correct. In this respect, you will need a specialist RICS-approved rating surveyor – such as those within the Eddisons rating team - to make sure that you are using reliable information about your business property.

It is worth noting that a revaluation of your business premises could result in higher bills rather than a reduction. If you choose to hire a rating surveyor, they should inspect your premises, look at the current assessment, and advise you on whether this could be a risk.

Business rate reliefs may help to minimise your bill
Various reliefs are available in relation to business rates. These include:

  • Small business rate relief: to be eligible, the rateable value of your business premises has to be less than £12,000. In addition, a small business multiplier is used rather than the regular multiplier, in an effort to reduce the burden for small business owners.
  • Retail relief: this could be available if you run a shop, café or restaurant. The property has to have a rateable value of £50,000 or less.
  • Rural rate relief: rural businesses may potentially be entitled to a reduction of 50% to 100% of their business rate bill.

Business rates have been a significant issue for many business owners during the last few years, but particularly during the economic downturn when valuations were based on a stronger property market.

Obtaining professional advice is essential if your company is to navigate successfully through troubled financial times. The Eddisons Business Rates team are dedicated to providing a professional and dynamic approach to conducting rating appeals on behalf of clients. To have an informal discussion with a member of our Business Rates team on the services and mitigation schemes we provide, please call 0333 6000 11.

Written by: Craig Newton on Wednesday 25/11/2015

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