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Business Rates Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Who has to pay Business Rates?

How is the business rate calculated?

What is the rateable value and how can I find out what mine is?

What are transitional arrangements?

Do I qualify for Small Business Rate Relief?

Do I qualify for Retail Rate Relief?

Are there any other reliefs available?

What happens if my property is left empty?

How Can I Pay?

I work from home, do I have to pay rates?

How do I contact the Local Taxation Office?

 

1. Who has to pay Business Rates?

Occupied Properties:  The person or company that occupies the premises needs to pay the business rates. Sometimes the landlord of the property may charge the occupier a rent that also includes an amount for the business rates. However that is a private matter between the landlord and the bill will remain in the name of the occupier, and if it is not paid, action will be taken against the occupier, not the landlord, to recover the amount due.

Unoccupied Properties: The person or company that has the right to occupy the property needs to pay any charge that is due (e.g. the leaseholder, tenant or the freeholder). If a tenant moves out of a property but still holds the lease, the tenant remains liable to pay any unoccupied rate charge that becomes due until the expiry of the lease. If however the tenant’s lease ends, the landlord will be liable for the charge.

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2. How is the business rate calculated?

The Council will work out your bill by multiplying the rateable value of your property by the appropriate rate multiplier, which the Government set each April.

For example, the rate poundage for 2014/2015 is 48.2 pence in the £. If your rateable value was £20,000 it would be multiplied by 48.21 pence and the amount you would have to pay for the year would be £9,640.00.

The amount quoted in the example may be subject to any transitional arrangements that may apply to the property and does not include any entitlement to any relief such as Small Business Rate Relief which the occupier may be entitled to apply for.

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3. What is the rateable value and how can I find out what mine is?

Each non-domestic property has a rateable value which is set by the valuation officers of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an agency of HM Revenue & Customs. They draw up and maintain a full list of all rateable values, available on their website at .www.voa.gov.uk. The rateable value of your property is shown on the front of your bill. The rateable value broadly represents the yearly rent the property could have been let for on the open market on a particular date. For the revaluation that came into effect on 1st April 2010 , this date was set as 1st April 2008 .

The Valuation Office can be contacted at Regent Court, 14-17 George Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 1NU (email mailto:ratingcentral@voa.gsi.gov.uk, telephone 03000 501501).

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4. What are transitional arrangements?

Following the introduction of business rates on 1st April 1990, many ratepayers faced large increases in the amount they would have to pay, whilst others anticipated considerably reduced bills.

To cushion the blow for businesses facing large increases, the Government introduced legislation to limit the amount the business rate could go up. This scheme, known as transitional relief, is financed by also placing a limit on the amount that rates can go down.

This phasing scheme recommences with each 5 yearly revaluation of business properties.

The current revaluation came into effect on 1 April 2010 and was due to end on 31 March 2015, however the Government has announced it has been extended to 31 March 2017. The transitional arrangements may apply for the 5 year period, capping both increases & decreases, however many properties will phase out of these arrangements within one or two years.

The scheme applies only to the bill based on a property at the time of revaluation. If there are any changes to the property after the revaluation date, transitional arrangements will not normally apply to the part of a bill that applies to any increase in rateable value due to these changes.

Special rules apply when rateable values change or existing properties are merged or split. Further information about transitional arrangements may be obtained from the Council.

There is no need for a ratepayer to apply for the transitional arrangements as these are calculated automatically and any entitlement will be shown on the bill.

To access further information on these arrangements, go to www.voa.gov.uk and enter transitional arrangements in the 'search with help' area.

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5. Do I qualify for Small Business Rate Relief?

In general Small Business Rate Relief will be available if you occupy only one property and its rateable value is under £12,000 or if occupy one main property and other additional properties whose rateable value does not exceed £2,599.

For more information on Small Business Rate Relief and to download an application form click here.

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6. Do I qualify for Retail Rate Relief?

From 1 April 2014 the Government has provided funding to allow the Council to award a discount for 2014/15 and 2015/16 of up to £1,000 for retail premises with a rateable value of under £50,000.

Click here to download further information and an application form.

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7. Are there any other reliefs available?

Other reliefs that may be available are

 - charitable relief for registered charities and not for profit organisations

 - rural rate relief for certain types of properties within a rural settlement

 - hardship relief for ratepayers who are suffering financial hardship

 - partly occupied relief where a property is only occupied in part

 - local rate relief

- re-occupation relief where a ratepayer moved into a property after 1 April 2014 which has been empty for more than 12 months. Please contact the local taxation office if you think you may be eligible for this relief  

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8. What happens if my property is left empty?

The owner (the person entitled to possession) of a property is liable to pay 100% of the basic occupied business rates. Rates will not be payable for the first three months that a property is empty. This period is extended to six months for qualifying industrial properties. 

More information on the rating of unoccupied properties is available by clicking here 

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9. How do I pay my Rates?

Please see the information on the How to Pay page.

 

10. I work from home, do I have to pay rates?

If you work from home it is possible that the part of your property used for work should be assessed for business rates, while the rest of your property remains assessed for Council Tax.

The Valuation Office Agency is responsible and not the Council to decide if your property should be assessed for business rates for the home working part of your property. The Valuation Office Agency will consider the following:

  • The extent and frequency of the business use within your home, i.e. how many rooms are involved and how much space is used for business working in comparison with the amount of living accommodation.
  • Any alterations made to the property to facilitate the business use from your home. 
  • Whether or not any staff are employed at your property in running the business.

If you want to find out if your property should be assessed for business rates please contact the Valuation Office Agency at  Regent Court, 14-17 George Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 1NU (email mailto:ratingcentral@voa.gsi.gov.uk, telephone 03000 501501).

 

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11. How to contact the Local Taxation Office

If you wish to advise the Council of a change in address or a change of circumstances please click here

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