Have Business Rates Been Balanced by the Revaluation?

Last Updated on: 22nd November 2023, 07:48 am

Today (21 August, 2023) saw the Non-Domestic Rating Bill introduced in the House of Commons, which is part of an extensive review into modernising the business rates system, including more frequent revaluations. Despite a 7.1% national increase in rateable values (RV) for England and Wales, the new Bill offers the opportunity to update the information on commercial property more frequently and accurately.

However, challenging business rates liability requires extensive knowledge and expertise held by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), as well as a considerable amount of time to take out of running a business. This is something that is not feasible for many.

The 2023 rating list is set to last three years, and has so far seen an increase in business rates. To support businesses in the midst of the pandemic, the government has implemented measures such as freezing multipliers, and expanding retail relief to cover 75% of the rates payable. However, when the relief is removed, businesses will be expected to pay the full liability, resulting in an additional £850 million for those in the hospitality industry alone.

David Kelly, Head of Insolvency at PwC, commented on the data showing the UK having the highest quarterly number of company insolvencies since the financial crisis in 2009: “In total, in the first half of 2023, there have been approximately 13,000 corporate failures.”

Anthony Hughes, Managing Director at RVA Surveyors, said: “Unless each individual commercial property is inspected within the three-year rating list, based on its own merits and unique assets, the information held by the VOA can never be fully accurate. It is well within their ability to inspect every property within a rating list to ensure accuracy before a new revaluation. They have the manpower; they just need the willpower to do so.”

Revaluations offer the potential for more accurate and fair business rates, however, it is the actions of the VOA and government agencies which will decide the effect it has on business owners and leaders.

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