Legislation to reverse the “staircase tax”

The Government has announced details of the legislation it proposes to introduce to reverse the effects of the decision of the UK Supreme Court in Woolway (VO) v Mazars LLP (2015) UKSC 53. The proposal to reverse the effects of this court decision, which resulted in properties that had previously been assessed as one for business rates becoming assessed as more than one, was announced by the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement 2017. The Government has now produced a consultation paper setting out how it proposes to reverse the effects of that decision. ...Read More

Rates relief for new fibre optic networks

The Government has published a consultation paper seeking views on new regulations that are intended to grant rates relief to new fibre optic telecommunications networks installed after 1 April 2017. This relief was announced by the Chancellor in the 2017 Budget and will offer 100% relief for a five year period from 1 April 2017. The aim is simple, to encourage investment in new fibre optic networks, but the consultation and the draft regulations show how complex and convoluted are the exemptions and reliefs from business rates. ...Read More

Review of Business Rates in Scotland

Scottish Government has published the Report of the Barclay Review of Non-Domestic Rates in Scotland. The review group was chaired by Ken Barclay, former Chairman of RBS, and spent over a year taking evidence from ratepayers, local authorities and others. Its report makes thirty recommendations, designed to enhance and reform the non-domestic rating system in Scotland. If accepted by Scottish Government some of these reforms could come into effect immediately, whilst others would require new legislation to enable them to be implemented. ...Read More

Business Rates in Wales

Welsh Assembly Government has published proposals for a very limited scheme of transitional adjustments to affect rate liabilities following the 2017 Rating Revaluation. The proposal is designed to help small businesses whose entitlement to small business rate relief may be altered as a result of the forthcoming revaluation. ...Read More

2017 Business Rates multipliers announced

The Government has given its first formal indication of the impact of next year's business rates revaluation - and it is not good news for London, nor for occupiers of larger properties. The announcement also gave details of the Uniform Business Rate multiplier for England for next year, and of a proposed scheme of transitional adjustments to phase in changes in rates liability following the revaluation. ...Read More

New Regulations for Business Rates appeals

There will be major changes to business rates appeals for next year's rating revaluation. The changes are significantly disadvantageous to ratepayers. Despite the Government's claims that the new system will be "easier to navigate, particularly for small businesses", the playing field will not be a level one and the draft regulations contain elements that will cause real concern for many ratepayers. ...Read More

Business rates retention

As part of its "devolution revolution" the Government proposes that, from 2020, local authorities should be able to retain all the business rates income generated in their area. At present only half of that income is retained in that way and even that is subject to some complex "top-up" and "tariff" arrangements, designed to ensure that local authorities are not left under-funded. The change to 100% retention will involve further alterations to these arrangements and the Government is consulting on those changes. They will represent a major change to the way that local authorities are funded so the consultation is an important one. ...Read More

Changes to Business Rates appeals

In a previous news item we set out details of a government consultation "Check, challenge, appeal: Reforming business rates appeals" about proposed changes to the business rates appeals system. Government has now announced its response to that consultation and has set out details of its proposed changes to these appeals. ...Read More

More Frequent Revaluations

As part of its review of the administration of the business rates system the Government has published a consultation paper seeking views on whether it should carry out more frequent revaluations of property for business rates. At present revaluations should be carried out every five years, although the next revaluation, which will come into effect on 1 April 2017, was postponed for two years from 2015 to 2017. Revaluations are the means of keeping the tax base up to date. Each revaluation will give "winners" and "losers" but, in principle, it must make sense to keep the tax base as up to date as possible. ...Read More