The latest consultation on business rates reform published 30th June 2021 tells us that business rates are here to stay. It also clearly sets out the Government’s intended changes. So in summary this is what the Government is planning:
• 3 year revaluations instead of 5 yearly and with a future view to annual revaluations
• Appeals to be made within the first 3 months of a new Ratable Value being published
• No appeals during the list for Material Changes in Circumstances; e.g. A new shopping centre is built mid list dragging down values of the nearby High Street shops
• A duty to report changes to your property and duty to provide rent information, and for some property types to disclose trade or build costs
• Fee to Challenge your assessment refundable upon success
• Fee to access greater information on how the Rateable Value is determined The Government’s swansong is to produce a more accurate list with greater transparency. Who could bemoan that!
These proposals are NOT a giver but a taker. Yes, the well touted move to 3 year Revaluations is to be welcomed so Ratable Values can be more closely aligned to market rents. However, the remaining proposals seem to have at their heart a motive to make it more difficult to appeal your business rates, whilst at the same time requires you as individual ratepayers to update changes you make to your property, meaning more often than not you incurring higher business rates costs.
Many hundreds of thousands of commercial properties will see quite dramatic falls in their Rateable Value as a consequence of Covid, if the government stick with a valuation date of 1 April 2021 for the April 2023 Revaluation.
However, until the Government confirms that it will abandon downward phasing which prevents ratepayers paying the correct rates on their new assessments, the applause for more accurate valuations will be played on another day!