Iminent Business Rates Changes - News
Adrian Smith, who set up AS Rating in 2000 after spending 25 years working for the Inland Revenue, said the demands are likely to prompt a wave of calls from winners and losers confused by the new rateable values.
The draft rating list published in October 2016 showed that many businesses in Hull could expect to see their rates fall. But in some areas of the East Riding business owners were facing an increase of as much as 300 per cent, and some were still unaware of the possible impact.
Adrian said: “Only a minority of businesses have acted on the information so far. Others have not paid any attention to it or have been putting it off because they are busy or it’s not something they understand. It will come to their attention when they get their bill and I expect that’s when I’ll get a lot of calls.”
The revaluation is the first since 2010 and is based on rental values from 1 April 2015. A key feature of the changes is that the threshold for small business rate relief will double to £12,000, and Adrian warned business owners to be wary of consultants seeking to charge a fee to secure a reduction. He added that the Valuation Office Agency will adopt a “check, challenge, appeal” process but that people who have questions should move quickly to avoid ending up at the back of a long queue.
Adrian said: “The threshold element of the changes is straightforward but there are still consultants who will try and get you to pay them for securing a reduction which you will get anyway. “Other aspects of the changes are more complicated and I have had a lot of questions from businesses who have become aware of the draft figures and don’t know if they’re correct. They are seeking advice as to whether the figure is reasonable and what the procedures are for challenging it.”
The new rateable values will take effect from 1 April and any significant changes are likely to be phased in, but while transitional relief can assist businesses it also has the potential to cause further confusion.
Adrian said: “You would think reduced rates might present an opportunity for new businesses to open, but it’s not that simple because substantial reductions and increases are phased in. “You could open new premises in the knowledge that your rates will fall over a period of time, but most people starting a new business or opening new premises want lower costs at the outset rather than in the future. “There are other areas in the East Riding where rates have trebled on some classes of property. Increases are also phased in, but more quickly than reductions. What is most important is that businesses know that the bill they have received is correct, whether it’s going up or down.
“I don’t guarantee that I can get a reduction but I do guarantee that our work will be thorough and if the figure is going to change we will be able to work out when and by how much, and that’s important for business planning.
“Some business owners have been horrified because even with transitional relief the big increases can cause problems. They can even affect staffing levels – one employer I spoke to might have to lose a member of staff.”
ASR is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation and the Rating Surveyors’ Association.
For further details about the revaluation and other rates issues contact Adrian on 01964 625415 or 01482 623930 or visit www.asrating.com