Putting Business Rates into Perspective

GN has always been a niche practise and we aim to remain so. We do not seek to waste your time or ours. We help businesses reduce their exposure to business rates from all sorts of angles, so we will be open with you and seek instruction only when we feel we have a realistic chance of securing savings.

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  • Retail property and business rate audit

Reasons to Contact us

Whether you find your rates going up, down, or remaining the same, the fact is you could still be paying too much. We’re here to advise you whether a realistic opportunity exists to reduce your rates.  What’s more, by asking a few questions we can usually assess that opportunity from our desk, and so that advice is offered free and without obligation.  By its very nature any challenge is very much evidence based, and that’s where our expertise comes in.
Some examples of where this service could work for you
Changes to a property may include additions, demolitions or change of use. You might experience nearby building works or road works. You might have been impacted by new development nearby such as a new shopping centre, loss of free parking or shop closures. It is very important that you act quickly to discuss these matters with us as soon as they occur because there are strict time limits to be observed if reductions in rates are to be secured.
This is a good starting point for us to get involved, because this may be an indicator that you are being charged too much.
There is clarity for valuing properties undergoing redevelopment following a Supreme Court decision. However for properties in disrepair matters remain far more contentious. GN can help you through these scenarios to provide the soundest advice regarding challenging such Rateable Values alongside providing the logistics to reduce your rates on vacant properties.
We are very familiar with challenging these properties, which are often assessed on a single bed space price (a double room being 2 single bed spaces). Alternative valuations on a receipts and expenditure basis can often lead to substantial reductions. We can also advise whether you ought to opt to move from the payment of Council Tax to Business Rates or vice versa, dependent upon your own trading patterns.
Offices, shops and industrial properties are valued by reference to rents. Alternative methods however exist which include:

  • Receipts and expenditure method including pubs, hotels, holiday cottages, petrol filling stations etc
  • Build costs method including public buildings, leisure centres, independent and state schools, purpose built surgeries and clinics etc.
  • Hybrid methods including renewable energy sites, riding stables, agricultural or horticultural businesses etc

We can advise on what is allowable and what is not – these valuations are often complex.

If your rent is higher than the Rateable Value but you were granted incentives at the time of taking the lease, such as rent free periods or given capital contributions towards fit out etc, let us check your Rateable Value.
If you own the freehold or hold a long-leasehold, it is usually more difficult to determine whether your rateable value is reasonable or not. GN have self developed what we believe to be the best set of analytical tools in the industry which will aid us in looking at nearby comparable assessments to support you to make that judgement call.
You may still see value in organising appeals for the benefit of your tenants or if you want to ensure your property is not excessively assessed and therefore a distraction for prospective purchasers and/or tenants. Your tenants may pay business rates direct or you may pay on their behalf, either way GN can support. We can also assist in providing up front guidance on likely RV’s on proposed new build schemes. For developers we can handle your appeals and mitigate through the development period to minimise your business rates cost.
You may for example …

  • Be in an office where you operate from adjacent floors
  • Operate from an industrial estate where you occupy adjacent units
  • Let neighbouring holiday accommodation or offer units on a complex

All of these examples could lead to substantial savings following a change in legislation commonly known as ‘the stair case tax reversal’ which requires action to be taken no later than 31st December 2019.

All Rates Revaluations took place in April 2017 across England, Wales & Scotland, placing new Rateable Values on business properties, but having been originally planned for 2015. This 2 year delay has meant that many businesses are facing substantial increases on the amounts they are called upon to pay. Whether your property is owned freehold or you are the tenant of the premises, your Rateable Value is an estimate of the amount that it might rent for assuming it was put on the market at 1 April 2015.

Business Rates are a hefty burden to any business and as a property tax they rank the highest in the developed world. Here’s why (2017/18 data for England Wales and Scotland).

Business Rates Net Collection (after all reliefs) £27 billion
(£23.9 billion just in England)
Council Tax Collection (after all reliefs) £32 billion
Corporation tax £56 billion
England introduced a new system for the current rating list (commencing 1st April, 2017) called Check, Challenge and Appeal (CCA). At the time this was a radical step to streamline the inordinate volume of appeals lodged in the previous rating list. The bulk of those appeals drove no positive change for the rate payer at all. In practice the changes in this list have added numerous layers of complexity. If you’re reading this, the chances are you have an interest in identifying potential savings for your company. Achieving a reduction in your current Rateable Value to realise those savings is where it becomes complicated.

Only one challenge can be made, on the same grounds as you navigate this complex process, so choosing the right expert team to represent you is crucial. Get it wrong at any stage and the opportunity to maximise business rate savings are greatly reduced. There is a solution: the GN RV Appeal Service. This expert service will guide and represent you through all stages of Check, Challenge and Appeal.

After an initial consultation with Goodman Nash the first stage for any rate payer is to register all commercial properties on the HMRC portal and confirm the appointment of your agent.

Once you have completed the above, we will begin detailed proceedings to CHECK and CHALLENGE your Rateable Value. Finally, where necessary and only once we have agreed with you the best course of action, there may be a requirement to APPEAL the valuation office decisions.

The CHECK stage ordinarily requires you to agree, amongst other matters, the floor areas of your properties. This is no simple exercise at all. You may have detailed drawings, measurements of the commercial property you occupy? If yes, these can prove helpful. If no, then we may need to conduct a survey to provide such accuracy in readiness for evidence. False disclosure of the total floor areas can lead to civil penalties so precision is required.

Once the Valuation Office agrees the facts presented, you have 4 months to submit a CHALLENGE. Here starts the process which is hugely biased against a ratepayer. The challenge must contain all points of evidence you will ever wish to present. The collation and presentation of evidence will need to include rental details on similar properties in the locality; without such details most challenges will fail. The valuation officer does not need to disclose his information upfront, and only in basic summary when replying with a Decision Notice.

With our expertise and wealth of national property data we would expect in most occurrences to deliver success for you as the rate payer at the CHECK or CHALLENGE stage. On occasion we may advise you to APPEAL the decision the valuation officer reached against your property. There are costs involved in the submission of an appeal, which are recoverable if successful.

To get this right every step of the way, we think you truly need the professional help from the expert team at GN. A free consultation to determine the validity of any appeal on your behalf and to support you further, our fees are offered on a success based outcome, with small one-off charges if we need to carry out a measured survey to complete the CHECK stage. These Survey fees are reimbursed where we have managed to secure rateable value reductions.

The system in Scotland differs from that in England & Wales. The general right to Appeal against your Rateable Value up to 30 September 2017 has long passed. However there are still opportunities to appeal as follows:

(a) Within 6 months of becoming a new owner or tenant of business property
(b) Within 6 months of a material change occurring

Wales currently has a different system to England & Scotland, having made a decision not to follow the Check Challenge and Appeal system introduced in England.

The right to make an appeal at any time during the Rating List remains, but you may only make it on the same ground once.

Please click here for our Registration Guidance Notes

Let’s talk

GN is here to advise you of both your entitlement to appeal, and likely chances of success on an initial free basis without obligation. Please contact us today

  • GN are proud to see businesses like Longleat Estates Ltd (includes Cheddar Gorge) and Motorola (Basingstoke) place their £1million + assessments in the hands of Goodman Nash, but at the same time we are helping businesses at the other end of the scale at assessments of Rateable Value of £12000+. Call us to see if we can help you

Refunding one-off business rates overpayments to your organisation.
Examining your property spending and securing refunds for your business.
Upsize - Downsize
Helping minimise your business rates if you’re upsizing or downsizing your premises.
Empty Rates
Helping reduced your rates if you have empty business property.
Corporate Rates Audit
Uncovering and refunding business rates overpayments across your property portfolio.