Business rates may be the third biggest expense, after staffing costs and rent, for many businesses, so it is important to challenge any demands which appear excessive or unreasonable for the trading premises.
This year business owners have to work against the clock to submit a valid rates appeal, as the government has imposed a deadline of 31 March 2015 on backdated revaluation claims for commercial properties in England. As business rates are a devolved tax the deadlines for rates appeals may be different in Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland has a completely different system of rates for domestic and commercial properties.
There is also extra pressure on business rates in England, as from 1 April 2013 local councils have been allowed to keep 50% of any increase in business rates collected in their areas, instead of passing that amount on to central government.
Recently local councils, with the backing of the Valuation Office Agency, have changed the rates assessment for cashpoints (ATMs) located inside stores. Previously these machines were counted as part of the overall rating for the premises, but now the cashpoint is rated separately. Each ATM could attract a rates bill of around £3,600 according to the FT. Many supermarkets have received business rates bills for in-store ATMs covering several years. The large retailers have the resources to appeal against these bills, but smaller businesses may not realise that time is running out to submit an appeal.
Get your appeal in now before it is too late. If you need guidance on how, please get in touch.