Business Rates Tax Advisory
Business Rates Tax on the occupation of commercial property is often one of the largest operational overheads for businesses.
Business rates liabilities have historically been set every five years by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) through a ‘revaluation’. The liability is a percentage of the attributed Rateable Value (RV), which reflects the VOA’s opinion of rental value for the property occupied at a set valuation date.
Our expert business rates specialists work with the VOA and local billing authorities to positively shape and negotiate business rates assessments, ensuring that your business rates liabilities are kept to a minimum. The team is well placed to advise businesses on how best to manage existing liabilities and budget for any anticipated future liabilities. We offer business rates advice, not only throughout the course of a revaluation period but also throughout a property lifecycle, so that you can confidently anticipate costs.
How we can help:
Reviewing and challenging the Rateable Value:
- Check, challenge, appeal: We can review your current business rates liabilities and provide analysis on where best to challenge value both for the current 2017 revaluation and for the forthcoming 2023 revaluation.
- Disturbance: If you are undertaking work to the property, or there is neighbouring work affecting the quiet enjoyment of a commercial premises, then it may be possible to make an application for relief or raise a challenge on the grounds of a Material Change in Circumstance (MCC). Our experts assess the disturbance and advise accordingly.
- ‘Rightsizing’ property portfolios through relocations, disposals, and acquisitions: During the Covid-19 pandemic, commercial real estate occupiers are re-visiting their occupied strategy to accommodate growth, streamlining and hybrid working arrangements. Our experts can ensure that whatever your rightsizing intentions your business rates liabilities are kept to a minimum.
- Vacancy: We can apply for empty rates relief and advise on mitigating future business rates if your property falls vacant before the lease expires, at the end of a tenancy or ahead of and during an intended re-development period.
- Deletion: We can advise on your entitlement to reduce your assessment to £0 or removed from the local or central rating lists if the property cannot be beneficially or actually occupied.
Challenging the service of legal notices:
- Completion notice challenges: Our experts will review that the notice has been served correctly and challenge it if appropriate.
Assistance with budgeting:
Advice and forecasting: We can provide regular advice on budgeting for business rates, real-time forecasting, and data on business rates savings over a revaluation period. We can provide liability reports both in line with the rate year and clients’ own financial years.
- Rates audit: We can review your portfolio to identify credits that are outstanding and due to you. This involves a review of both current and historic portfolios to establish that they have been correctly charged and that the correct amendments to current and historic rating lists have in fact happened.
- Identification of reliefs and refunds: We can review your business rates liabilities to ensure that you are benefitting from any reliefs to which you are entitled.
Frequently asked questions
1. How can a business rates adviser help reduce my business rates liability?
A specialist business rates adviser can review current business rates assessments and identify opportunities to challenge value. They are able to manage the end-to-end process of challenging assessments on your behalf and understand the necessary framework and timing for doing so. They are well trained in understand all the property rental valuation methods used by the VOA to set Rateable Values. Additionally, they can advise on appropriate relief entitlements and can assist with applying for these.
2. When will business rates be re-set?
Business rates are due to be set again on 1 April 2023 reflecting the commercial real estate rental market on 1 April 2021. With a valuation date set during a global pandemic, significant changes are anticipated. Instructing a business rates advisor who understands both the financial and the commercial real estate market during this period could be beneficial.
3. How is my business rates liability calculated?
The liability is calculated by multiplying the Rateable Value by the Uniform Business Rate (UBR) multiplier. The 2022/23 rate year multiplier is currently 51.2p for Large Rateable Values and 49.9p for Small Rateable Values.
4. Do I qualify for small business rates relief?
You qualify for small business rates relief if your Rateable Value is less than £15,000.
5. Do I qualify for retail relief discount?
You can qualify for the retail relief discount if your business is a shop, restaurant, café, bar, cinema, music venue, hospitality or leisure business. If eligible, you could qualify for a 66% reduction in your business rates bill for the remaining 2021/22 business rates tax year.
6. I am relocating to another commercial property and am looking to improve the new occupied space, how can I ensure my business rates are kept to a minimum?
Working with a business rates adviser both before and during a relocation to challenge the Rateable Value could lead to reduced business rates liabilities.
7. What are the proposed changes at the 2023 business rates revaluation?
The key changes are: a move to revaluations every 3 years from 1 April 2023; the introduction of a duty to notify, where ratepayers have to update the VOA on changes to leases or property and provide an annual declaration of changes; and the introduction of a 3 month deadline to lodge a compiled list challenge from 1 April 2023.
8. When will the 2023 draft revaluation rateable values be released?
Draft Rateable Values for the 2023 revaluation will be released on 31 December 2022.