National Non-Domestic Rate (Business Rates)
Non-Domestic Rates, or Business Rates, collected by local authorities are the way that those who occupy non-domestic property contribute towards the cost of local services. Except in the City of London, where special arrangements apply, the rates are pooled by central government and redistributed to local authorities as part of the annual formula grant settlement. The money, together with revenue from council taxpayers, revenue support grant provided by the Government and certain other sums, is used to pay for the services provided by your local authority and other local authorities in your area.
Apart from properties that are exempt from Business Rates, each non-domestic property has a rateable value which is set by the valuation officers of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an agency of Her Majestys Revenue and Customs. They draw up and maintain a full list of all rateable values, available on their website at Valuation Office Agency.
The rateable value of your property is shown on the front of this bill. This broadly represents the yearly rent the property could have been let for on the open market on a particular date. For the revaluation that came into effect on the 1st April 2010, this date was set as 1st April 2008.
The valuation officer may alter the value if circumstances change. The ratepayer (and certain others who have an interest in the property) can appeal against the value shown in the list if they believe it is wrong. Further information about the grounds on which appeals may be made and the process for doing so can be found on the VOA website or from your local valuation office.
The local authority works out the Business Rates bill by multiplying the rateable value of the property by the appropriate multiplier. There are two multipliers; the standard non-domestic rating multiplier and the small business non-domestic rating multiplier. The former is higher to pay for small business rate relief. Except in the City of London where special arrangements apply, the Government sets the multipliers for each financial year for the whole of England according to formulae set by legislation. Between revaluations the multipliers change each year in line with inflation and to take account of the cost of small business rate relief. In the year of a revaluation the multipliers are rebased to account for overall changes to total rateable value and to ensure that the revaluation does not raise extra money for Government. The current multipliers are shown on the front of this bill.
All rateable values are reassessed every five years at a general revaluation. The current rating list is based on the 2010 revaluation. Five-yearly revaluations make sure each ratepayer pays their fair contribution and no more, by ensuring that the share of the national rates bill paid by any one ratepayer reflects changes over time in the value of their property relative to others. Revaluation does not raise extra money for Government.
Whilst the 2010 revaluation will not increase the amount of rates collected nationally, within this overall picture, over a million properties will see their business rate liabilities reduced and some ratepayers will see increases.
For those that would otherwise see significant increases in their rates liability, the Government has put in place a £2 billion transitional relief scheme to limit and phase in changes in rate bills as a result of the 2010 revaluation. To help pay for the limits on increases in bills, there also have to be limits on reductions in bills. Under the transition scheme, limits continue to apply to yearly increases and decreases until the full amount is due (rateable value times the appropriate multiplier).
The scheme applies only to the bill based on a property at the time of the revaluation. If there are any changes to the property after 1st April 2010, transitional arrangements will not normally apply to the part of a bill that relates to any increase in rateable value due to those changes. Changes to your bill as a result of other reasons (such as because of changes to the amount of small business rate relief) are not covered by the transitional arrangements. The transitional arrangements are applied automatically and are shown on the front of this bill. Further information about transitional arrangements and other reliefs may be obtained from Swale Borough Council or the website My Business Rates.
More information on revaluation 2010 can be found at Valuation Office Agency Website.
Business Rates will not be payable in the first three months that a property is empty. This is extended to six months in the case of certain industrial properties. After this period rates are payable in full unless the unoccupied property rate has been reduced by the Government by order. In most cases the unoccupied property rate is zero for properties owned by charities and community amateur sports clubs. In addition, there are a number of exemptions from the unoccupied property rate.
Full details on exemptions can be obtained from the local authority. If the unoccupied property rate for the financial year has been reduced by order, it will be shown on the front of this bill.
A ratepayer is liable for the full non-domestic rate whether a property is wholly occupied or only partly occupied. Where a property is partly occupied for a short time, the local authority has discretion in certain cases to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part. Full details can be obtained from the local authority.
This relief is only available to ratepayers who apply to their local authority and who occupy either -
The rateable value of the property mentioned in (a), or the aggregate rateable value of all the properties mentioned in (b), must not exceed £17,999 outside London or £25,499 in London on each day for which relief is being sought. If the rateable value, or aggregate rateable value, increases above those levels, relief will cease from the day of the increase.
Ratepayers who satisfy these conditions will have the bill for their sole or main property calculated using the lower small business nondomestic rating multiplier rather than the national non-domestic rating multiplier that is used to calculate the liability of other businesses.
In addition, if the sole or main property is shown on the rating list with a rateable value which does not exceed £12,000, the ratepayer will receive a percentage reduction in their rates bill for this property of up to a maximum of 50% for a property with a rateable value of not more than £6,000.
If an application for relief is granted, provided the ratepayer continues to satisfy the conditions for relief which apply at the relevant time as regards the property and the ratepayer, they will not need to re-apply for relief in each new valuation period.
Certain changes in circumstances will need to be notified to the local authority by the ratepayer (other changes will be picked up by the local authority). The changes which must be notified are -
Notification of these changes must be given to the local authority within 4 weeks of the day after the day the change happened. If this happens, there will be no interruption to the ratepayers entitlement to the relief. A notification that the ratepayer has taken up occupation of an additional property must be by way of a fresh application for relief; notice of an increase in rateable value must be given in writing.
Full details on the eligibility criteria and on how to apply for this relief are available from the local authority.
Charities and Registered CASCs are entitled to 80% relief where the property is occupied by the Charity or the CASC, and is wholly or mainly used for the charitable purposes of the charity (or of that and other charities), or for the purposes of the CASC (or of that and other CASCs).
The local authority has discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill. Full details can be obtained from the local authority.
The local authority has discretion to give relief to Non-Profit Making Organisations. Full details can be obtained from the local authority.
The local authority has discretion to give relief in special circumstances. Full details can be obtained from the local authority.
Ratepayers do not have to be represented in discussions about their rateable value or their rates bill. Appeals against rateable values can be made free of charge. However, ratepayers who do wish to be represented should be aware that members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS - website) and the Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation (IRRV - website) are qualified and are regulated by rules of professional conduct designed to protect the public from misconduct. Before you employ a rating adviser, you should check that they have the necessary knowledge and expertise, as well as appropriate indemnity insurance. Take great care and, if necessary, seek further advice before entering into any contract.
Certain types of properties in a rural settlement with a population below 3,000 may be entitled to relief. The property must be the only general store, the only post office or food shop and have a rateable value of less than £8,500, or the only public house or the only petrol station and have a rateable value of less than £12,500. The property has to be occupied. An eligible ratepayer is entitled to relief at 50% of the full charge whilst the local authority also has discretion to give further relief on the remaining bill.
In addition the local authority can give relief on certain other occupied property in a rural settlement where the rateable value is less than £16,500. Full details can be obtained from the local authority. These explanatory notes are produced in accordance with statutory regulations and are required to be included with your 2010/2011 Business Rate demand notice. If you require further advice or guidance on any of the matters shown above, then please contact:
Business Rate Section
Revenue Services Unit
Swale House, East Street
Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 3HT
Direct line telephone numbers: Sittingbourne (01795) 417454.