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Supreme Court Ruling Set to Prompt Business Rates Rise

Written by: Craig Newton on Thursday 12/05/2016

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A ruling passed down by the Supreme Court in recent months is set to see business rates rise for numerous companies based across all parts of the UK.

The ruling relates to commercial properties and the issue of whether or not a company should have their occupancy situations assessed on an individual basis if they occupy more than one floor within a single building.

A unanimous judgement made last year has effectively settled the matter and decided that each floor being occupied by a company within a single building that is also used by other organisations ought to be assessed individually in relation to business rates.

The upshot of which looks set to be increased business rate liabilities for all manner of different office occupying enterprises around the country.

According to experts on the subject, some companies may also be frustrated to find that they can only make appeals to the relevant Valuation Office Agency (VOA) in cases that date back no further than April 1st 2015.

Until recently, it had been the case that appeals could be made to the VOA in relation to business rate decisions dating back to 2010.

The ruling given by the Supreme Court in July 2015 focussed on a specific situation in which an accountancy firm occupied the second and sixth floors of Tower Bridge House in London and was in dispute about whether its tenancy and its business rates should be officially considered as being one single or two separate arrangements.

For those passing judgement, the key issue was apparently whether or not the two floors of office space could be rented out separately and on an individual basis, as was eventually deemed to be the case.

Therefore it was subsequently decided that the tenancy of the two floors, although involving the same company, should be considered as separate tenancies and involve distinct business rate assessments on that basis.

As a result, discounted business rates in these kind of scenarios are now set to become a thing of the past for companies in all parts of the country.    

Written by: Craig Newton on Thursday 12/05/2016

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About the author

Craig joined Eddisons in 2011 as an Associate Director after spending 17 years in Leeds in the business rates environment. He has acted for many clients from single property owners to multinationals on a wide range of property from shops to concrete batching plants.

Craig has over 20 years’ experience in the rating field, but the ever-evolving and complex issues in this area means he continues to develop his experience and knowledge.

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