There was an attempt to grab the headlines on the Business Rates agenda in the budget. However consideration of the small print shows that these changes and proposals are to be phased in with the 2017 revaluation.
The principle announcements are as follows:
From 1st April 2017 the Small Business Rates Relief scheme will be extended. Small businesses occupying a single property with a rateable value of £12,000 or less will receive 100% relief. Where the Rateable Value is between £12,000 and £15,000, relief will be tapered. The Chancellor claims that 600,000 small businesses will pay no rates from 2017.
However as business rates reliefs are essentially self funding, those businesses with higher Rateable values can expect a surcharge on the uniform business rate to cover this cost.
From 1st April 2017 the lower uniform business rates multiplier will be applied to properties with a rateable value of up to £51,000 (currently £18,000). This will provide a minor boost for relevant occupiers.
From 1st April 2020 the annual change in the uniform business rate multiplier will be linked to CPI rather than RPI. Whilst this is a welcome step, it is disappointing that this will take 3 years to implement.
The Chancellor has also set out some “promises” on easing the burden of business rates administration. He aspires to revaluations every 3 years rather than the current 5 (or current politically motivated 7 year) pattern.
Business rates collection could be streamlined with local authority and HMRC collections services for all taxation linked.
The government claims that these measures will assist with the devolution process whereby local authorities will keep the rates collected, however the detail is a little light on this at present.
Key actions for ratepayers resulting from this announcement are:
- Review your current business rates liability for 2016/2017. If necessary take advice.
- Review the terms of any current agreement with any business rates consultant you have instructed. Ideally they should be a chartered surveyor specialising in business rates and with local market knowledge. Are you happy with the fee arrangement and their performance? Resist high pressure sales tactics and false/misleading claims or promises of magical savings.
- Consider your strategy for the revaluation. There is 1 year to go and although the 2017 rateable values will not be released until later in the year, there is still merit in acting now.
- Give Bruton Knowles a call for further advice on how we can help