About business rates

Information guide

Business rates information relating to the 2018/19 financial year can be found on the leaflets available.

 

 

What are business rates?

Business rates - or national non-domestic rates - are charged on most non-domestic premises.

If you use a building or part of a building for business purposes, you will probably have to pay business rates. However the property does not have to be used for a business, if it is used for purposes which are not domestic it is likely to be rateable; for example beach huts and holiday lets. Certain properties such as farms and churches are not rateable.

The amount you pay is worked out based on your property's ratable value. Your ratable value is calculated by the Valuation Office Agency .

You can ask for your property's ratable value to be corrected if you think it's wrong.

 How charges are calculated

Business rates help to pay for local services. How much you pay will depend on:

  • the rateable value of the property, which is set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).
  • what multiplier is set by central government.
My business rates - information guide

What is 'My business rates'?

My business rates is a new online service for business rates customers that allows you to manage your business rates account online. My business rates allows you to access our services at a time convenient to you. Using this facility you will be able to;

  • set up a direct debit to pay your business rates, or change an existing direct debit
  • view your own business rates account, including payments made and payments due
  • view and print bills and recovery notices
  • update contact details
  • view property details, including rateable values and annual charges

What do I need to access my business rates account?

To access all features of my business rates you will need to create your own my business rates account. To do this you will need the following;

  • your business rates bill
  • your business rates account number (as shown on your bill)
  • a valid email address
  • the last 3 digits of the bank account number used to pay your business rates by direct debit, or the last 3 digits of the latest phone number provided to the taxation office.

If you do not pay your business rates by direct debit or have not provided the council with your telephone number then please email the taxation team with your contact phone number.

Do I have to create a my business rates account?

Not all features of this new service need you to have your own account. You can do the following without having to create your own account;

  • set up a direct debit to pay your business rates account, or change an existing direct debit
  • view property details, including business rates annual charges and rateable values.

Is it easy to use?

Yes. This new system is simple to use and provides very clear instructions.

Please note this service is unavailable during the following period each day: 23:30 to 05:00.

How do I access my business rates?

My business rates account

 

Spring 2017 budget changes

On the 8 March 2017 the Chancellor announced proposals for additional relief schemes to be made available (subject to qualifying criteria) to help businesses and pubs to manage the impact of large increases in the 2017 revaluations.

Supporting small businesses relief

Because of the changes made to rateable values in the revaluation, some ratepayers have lost some or all of their Small Business or Rural Rate Relief. This has resulted in some businesses experiencing large increases in their bills. To support these businesses, the new Supporting Small Business Relief ensures that the increase will be limited to £600 per year.

£1,000 pub support relief

This is a new relief scheme for pubs that have a rateable value under £100,000. This scheme means that eligible pubs will receive a £1,000 discount on their bill. The scheme started on the 1 April 2017 and runs for two years, ending 31 March 2019. The Government's policy intention is that eligible pubs should:

  • be open to the general public
  • allow free entry other than when occasional entertainment is provided
  • allow drinking without food to be consumed
  • permit drinks to be purchased at a bar

For these purposes, it should exclude:

  • restaurants
  • cafes
  • nightclubs
  • hotels
  • snack bars
  • guesthouses
  • boarding houses
  • sporting venues
  • music venues
  • festival sites
  • theatres
  • museums
  • exhibition halls
  • cinemas
  • concert halls
  • casinos

This list is not intended to be exhaustive.

Awards of the relief must comply on EU law on State Aid such that the award will not exceed the 200,000 euros that a business can receive under the De Minimis Regulations EC 1407/2013.

Discretionary relief scheme

The government has set up a £300m discretionary fund to support those businesses facing the steepest increases in their business rates as a result of the revaluation. This will be available from the 1 April 2017 for four years. The idea is that every billing authority in England will be provided with a share of this fund which authorities will use in order to develop their own discretionary relief schemes so they can deliver targeted support.

All eligible businesses were written to in November 2017.

Recovery action

If you are experiencing any difficulty paying your business rates, please contact us so we can discuss your options.

If you believe you should be given special consideration because of your unique circumstances, please contact us so we can discuss your options.

If your bill is not paid:

  • You will be sent a first reminder notice requiring the account be brought up to date, along with any other payment due within the next 7 days.
  • If you pay after the first reminder but at a later date do not pay on time, you will be sent a second reminder notice.
  • If the reminder is not paid, or if you have received a second reminder you will be sent a final notice. The full balance will become due in 7 days. If you are unable to pay the balance in full please contact the taxation office.
  • If you still do not pay, a Magistrates' Court Summons will be issued. This gives you notice to appear before the court on a specified date

If you receive a summons and are unable to pay the amount in full by the hearing date, please contact the taxation office. We can agree to an alternative arrangement. This can be agreed prior to the court hearing, although you will be subject to the Liability Order and associated costs.

If payment is still not received

  • We can pass your account to an Enforcement Agent for collection. This will incur additional fees which are outlined as follows:
Enforcement agent - additional fees Enforcement agent additional fees
Stage                                Fee                            Percentage Fee

Compliance

£75

-

Enforcement

£235

7.5% on excess of debts over £1,500

Sale

£110

7.5% on excess of debts over £1,500

The compliance fee of £75 will be payable for each Liability Order the moment a local authority refers it to the Enforcement Agency.

  • We can proceed with bankruptcy proceeding against individuals who have substantial debts.
  • For a company with substantial debts we can proceed with liquidation proceedings. These are taken at County Court.
  • A summons can be issued requiring you to attend a committal proceedings hearing at a Magistrates' Court. A warrant can be issued to place you in prison for up to three months. This can involve additional costs.
  • In exceptional circumstances a  charging order can be made against your property. This means that if your property is sold, the business rates debts would be paid from the proceeds.

 

Transition Scheme from 1 April 2017

If there has been a large increase or decrease in the rateable value of your property it may be affected by transitional arrangements.

The charge for 2017/18 is compared with the rates for 2016/17. Any discounts or exemptions awarded in 2016/17 are not counted in this calculation.

Different transitional arrangements will apply depending on the rateable value of your property:

Rateable values Rateable values
SizeRateable value

Small

Rateable Value up to £20,000

Medium

Rateable Value between £20,001 and £100,000

Large

Rateable Value £100,001 and over

As a general guide rates increases will be limited as follows:

Guide to rate increases Guide to rate increases
Type2017/182018/192019/202020/212021/22
Small5.0%7.5%10.0%15.0%15.0%
Medium12.5%17.5%20.0%25.0%25.0%
Large42.0%32.0%49.0%16.0%6.0%
 plus inflationplus inflationplus inflationplus inflationplus inflation

The difference between the two amounts is shown on the bill as Transitional Relief.

As a general guide rates decreases will be limited as follows:

Guide to rate decreases Guide to rate decreases
Type2017/182018/192019/202020/212021/22
Small20.0%30.0%35.0%55.0%55.0%
Medium10.0%15.0%20.0%25.0%25.0%
Large4.1%4.6%5.9%5.8%4.8%
 plus inflationplus inflationplus inflationplus inflationplus inflation

The difference between the two amounts is shown on the bills as Transitional Surcharge.

The amount of transitional relief or surcharge applied to the property will then be phased out over a period of between one and five years, depending on the level of increase/decrease.

Any small business rate relief or mandatory relief will then be awarded to the bill after the Transition Relief/Surcharge has been applied.

Rateable values and how to appeal

The rateable value for each hereditament (rateable property) is assessed by the Valuation Office, an executive body of HM Revenues and Customs.

Other than a few exceptions the 2017 rateable value is based on the market rent it would be expected to command as at 1 April 2015.

The rateable values for this district can be obtained by either contacting the taxation office or the The Valuation Office Agency  website.

In most cases the Valuation Office website can also provide a breakdown as to how the rateable value has been calculated.

How to appeal

If you believe your rateable value is incorrect you can ask the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to reassess it.

The VOA's Check, Challenge, Appeal (CCA) service launched on 1st April 2017. This was in support of the Government's aims to reform the rating system under the heading of CCA. The regulations that underpin this were laid in Parliament on 17th March 2017.

The VOA's check and challenge service is designed to get necessary changes made sooner, without there being an automatic need for an appeal, saving this route for those complex cases that need it. The aim is to narrow down the issues at each stage.

Check and challenge will give ratepayers more certainty about the basis of their rateable value by allowing them to initiate a check and confirm or update the details of their property. Following a check, if they have reason to believe that their valuation is wrong, they will be able to submit a challenge, and provide supporting evidence.

The VOA will be making this service increasingly digital over time, in line with customer expectations to interact with them online, and expect to launch functionality in phases from 1st April 2017 through to late 2018.

2017 Revaluation Advice from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA website information)

2017 Revaluation Advice from the Valuation Office Agency 2017 Revaluation Advice from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA website information)

Revaluation Questions

Guidance

1)

 

 

I want more information about business rates and rateable value

  Introduction to business rates

2)

 

I want to find out my rateable value, and find out how it's worked out

  Check your business rate valuation

 

3)

 

I want to update the property details

Gov.uk - request changes to property or valuation details if you think they're wrong  Here you can look up your property by postcode and send in suggested amendments to the details.

4)

I want to know why my rateable value is different from my rent.

 

The VOA look at many rents in an area before deciding on the right rateable value for each property. Rents can vary between properties in an area, even if the properties are similar and the rents are agreed at the same time. This is because landlords and tenants often have different views on the rental value of a property and sometimes there are special lease terms that can affect the rent paid.

How your business rates are calculated

 

5)

I want to know the rent/trade details of my property

The VOA does not publish this information online, as that would breach the Data Protection Act.

 

Refer caller to 03000 501 501 (03000 505 505 in Wales) to request the details from us.

6)

My business has closed, and I would like the property taken out of the Rating List

The VOA doesn't remove properties from the rating list just because the business has closed. It is more than likely that if the property still exists it may still be rateable  .

7)

 

I have a property that is in poor repair

   My property is in poor repair

8)

 

My property is undergoing refurbishment or structural alterations.

   Does undergoing refurbishments or structural alterations affect my business rates

 

9)

I want to know about zoning

The VOA uses zoning to measure retail premises. This is a standard method of measuring retail premises for valuation purposes.

  How to measure property for rating purposes

10)

I believe my property measurements are wrong

  Send in suggested amendments to the measurements

11)

 

I want to appeal/challenge the 2017 rateable value

 

  Submit a check on the property details  

12)

I want to appeal/challenge the 2010 rateable value

 

  Submit an appeal on the 2010 valuation  

13)

I want to correct address inaccuracies including the postcode

  If the address details listed do not match the used address, you can submit a request to amend it online .

14)

I want to know if I should be paying business rates if a business is being run from home

 

You don't usually have to pay business rates for home based businesses if you:

 

· Use a small part of your home for your business, e.g. you use a bedroom as an office

 

· Sell goods by post

   Check to see if I have to pay business rates when working from home

15)

 

I have no web access

Callers without web access will need to ring 03000 501 501 for any of the circumstances in this table.

 

You can write to the VOA about check and challenge at:

Check & challenge service

PO Box1827

SHIRLEY

SO15 9HH

Your bill must be paid as per the instalments outlined on it even if you have appealed against the rateable value. A dispute over the rateable value is not considered a valid legal reason to withhold payment.

Should you wish to appeal against your rateable value you may wish to contact a rating advisor (or they may contact you). It is important that you satisfy yourself that he or she has the necessary knowledge and expertise, as well as appropriate indemnity insurance. You may wish to make sure they are from a reputable company.

Beware that some rating advisors may make misleading or false claims. Some agents do not always fully explain that a reduction in rateable value may not always lead to a reduction in the amount of rates you have to pay. This is because there are limits on how much rates bills can change from year to year under the Transitional scheme.

Please be careful before entering into a contract with a ratings advisor. Take advice if necessary. Bear in mind that no one can guarantee a reduction in rateable value no matter how persuasive they may be.