Who pays business rates?
Businesses and other organisations that occupy non-domestic premises pay business rates, also known as National Non-Domestic Rates. The payments help fund local services provided by councils and other authorities such as Surrey County Council, Surrey Police and the Surrey Fire and Rescue Service.
How are my business rates calculated?
Apart from properties that are exempt from business rates, each non-domestic property has a rateable value which is set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an agency of HMRC. It draws up and maintains a full list of all rateable values.
The rateable value of your property is shown on the front of your bill. This 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 1 April 2017, this date was set as 1 April 2015.
We multiply the rateable value with a multiplier which is set by central government each year. The multiplier represents the number of pence in each pound of rateable value that will be payable in business rates before any relief or discounts are applied. It is reviewed each year to reflect changes in inflation. The current and past multipliers can be found on the VOA website.
Appealing your rateable value
The valuation officer may alter the value if the circumstances of the property have changed. The ratepayer (and certain others who have an interest in the property) can also appeal against the value shown in the list if they believe it is wrong. Further information about making appeals can be found on the VOA website or by contacting your local valuation office:
Non-Domestic Rates South East
Valuation Office Agency
St Anne's House
2 St Anne's Road
Telephone: 03000 501501
Appealing your rateable value is not grounds for non payment. You must maintain your monthly instalments as outlined on your business rates bill, failure to do so will result in recovery action being taken against your account. If your appeal is successful, the VOA will notify usand we will send you an amended bill. If you have paid too much business rates we will also refund you at that point.
Ratepayers do not have to be represented in discussions about their rateable value or their rates bill. Appeals against rateable values can be made free of charge. However, ratepayers who do wish to be represented should be aware that members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation (IRRV) are qualified and are regulated by rules of professional conduct designed to protect the public from misconduct. Before you employ a rating adviser, you should check that they have the necessary knowledge and expertise, as well as appropriate indemnity insurance. Take great care and, if necessary, seek further advice before entering into any contract.
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Spring Budget 2017 Update
On the 8th of March 2017, the Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered his spring budget which included a number of changes to business rates, in light of the approaching business rates revaluation which takes effect in England from 1 April 2017.
In addition to the £3.6 billion transitional relief which was announced in November 2016, the government will provide £435 million of further support for businesses facing significant increases in bills from the English business rates system.
- support for small businesses losing Small Business Rate Relief to limit increases in their bills to the greater of £600 or the real terms transitional relief cap for small businesses each year
- providing English local authorities with funding to support £300 million of discretionary relief, to allow them to provide support to individual hardship cases in their local area
- The government will also introduce a £1,000 business rate discount for public houses with a rateable value of up to £100,000, subject to state aid limits for businesses with multiple properties, for one year from 1 April 2017.
Unfortunately due to the late announcement of these changes, we are still waiting for software updates and hope to have these in place in the near future.
If you feel you may be affected by these changes, please continue to make payments as outlined on you annual demand notice dated 10 March 2017. We will contact those who are affected directly and issue revised notices once we are able to update the relevant accounts. Any overpayment which may result from these changes will remain on your account and go towards reducing your future instalments.