Business rates changes announced

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) has published revaluation details of 1.96 million non-domestic properties in England and Wales.

Many small businesses will see a drop in their charges because they have overpaid in recent years, as rates have been based on 2008 valuations which are now out of date, said the Federation of Small Businesses.

Chairman Mike Cherry said: "Many businesses across the country will be getting some relief from years of overpayment or see their rates remain steady.

"In other areas, there will be a big jump between the old valuation and the new one. To avoid such big discrepancies in payments, we believe more frequent valuations are necessary."

But he added that transitional relief plans, which were announced by the government earlier this week, will help reduce some of the pain for those facing a big rate hike.

Under proposed changes to Small Business Rate Relief announced in the March 2016 Budget, small firms with a rateable value of less than £12,000 will pay no business rates at all, with further assistance handed to those with a rateable value of under £51,000.

Malcolm Scott Consultants say they will look to reduce garden centre rates via an appeals process over the next six months.

Cherry added: "It means that today's revaluations could have big consequences, especially for those firms on the margins of these cut-off points."

The steepest increases will be felt by London retailers, whose business rates will rise by an average of 14 per cent before taking account of "transitional relief" that will phase in the changes.

From April, business rates will be based on 2015 rental values, rather than on the pre-recession values of 2008, as they are at present. The changes will be revenue neutral, redistributing the £28bn-a-year rates burden in line with the changing economic fortunes of different sectors and regions.


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