Treasury seeks feedback on business rates revaluations

Business rates revaluations in England could take place every three years, following the launch of a recent consultation.

The latest consultation forms part of a wider comprehensive review into business rates in England later this year.

Business rates are similar to council tax for business properties in England. They are paid by businesses, or commercial landlords if a business property is empty.

How much they pay in business rates is based on open-market rental values, which are determined by the Valuation Office Agency every five years.

These revaluations result in new rateable values being given to all business properties in England, and revisions to the two business rates multipliers.

The last revaluation was in 2017, based on rents in 2015. The next one is due in 2022, subject to the outcome of the autumn report.

The Government is consulting on making business rate revaluations every three years, "ensuring they better reflect changing economic conditions".

Jesse Norman, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said:
"Proposals set out in this consultation would mean that valuations more quickly reflect how the economy is performing.

"This would make the business rates system [in England] more accurate and responsive, while balancing the burden for ratepayers."

Prospect of a ‘fairer system'

The consultation has been well received by business groups, including the British Retail Consortium, which has called for more frequent revaluations.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive at the BRC, said:
"This should be the first step towards making the business rates system [in England] fairer and more reflective of current economic conditions.

"As retail emerges from the pandemic, a return to ‘business rates-as-usual' could derail the industry's recovery, with unnecessary shop closures and job losses the result.

"It is vital the Government builds on this road to reform and stands by its commitment to reduce the overall rates burden on businesses, while ensuring there are no further delays to the outcome of the fundamental review."

When is the comprehensive report due?

The latest consultation into business rates revaluations will close on 24 August 2021, with a report due to be published in the autumn.

However, this report was originally due to be published last autumn before the effects of the coronavirus pandemic saw it delayed.

This report could prompt an overhaul in the business rates system in England, and might be one of the headline measures in an Autumn Budget.

Business rates right now

The extended business rates holiday for around 400,000 retail, leisure and hospitality firms came to an end on 30 June 2021.

From 1 July 2021, a transitional relief offers business rates at 66% until 31 March 2022. Local councils have already started to bill those affected.

This transitional relief is capped at a total of £105,000 per business, or £2 million per business where a property had to close on 5 January 2021.

Firms that have not prepared for this change might need to review their cashflow position in order to comply with this transitional relief.

Contact us to review your business's cashflow.