Business Rate Appeals
Business Rates – the non-domestic equivalent of council tax are usually reset every five years. The last revaluation that came into effect on 1st April 2017 was set at the 1st April 2015.
There are some significant implications for rural businesses in particular, whereby rates will be applied and more particularly, evenly applied to establishments such as riding schools, livery yards, farms, vineyards and livestock markets – these are the premises which are facing some of the steepest business rate rises in England. There is no obligation on the local authority to notify owners or occupiers of the revaluation, the responsibility for paying business rates is with the occupier of the property, or the owner if the property is unoccupied. Local authorities actively seek out and review commercial properties when no rates are being paid and therefore, if you are contacted by a ratings officer, it is worthwhile preparing for any such visit or meeting with them so they are not likely to take away some incorrect information, resulting in a hefty liability being placed on the occupier of the property. Once a property is on the rating list, it is difficult to remove it and rates will apply regardless.
There may be some exceptions and an appeal may be the only option. Opportunities to apply for small business rate relief should not be missed, and these can be backdated in certain circumstances.
Moule & Co are experienced in dealing with the Valuation Office Agency and can prepare challenges to rateable values applied and also apply for small business rate relief and other exemptions. We have been particularly successful in appealing rating assessments, and obtaining exemptions for agricultural premises, which were previously rateable.