Business Rates - FAQs

What is the Government Gateway?

The Government Gateway is an online platform which has been introduced for the 2017 Rating List, which allows individuals to access national and local online government services safely and securely.

Ratepayers are now required to register and set up an account on the Government Gateway in order to undertake the Check, Challenge and Appeals process.

How do I Register for the Government Gateway?

Roger Hannah & Co have produced a step by step guide to walk you through the registration process which can be found here:

https://www.roger-hannah.co.uk/specialisms/business-rates/government-gateway/

What Do I Need? The registration will require the ratepayer to undertake the following:

  • Register your details
  • Register the business
  • Claim your property from the Rating List data
  • Appoint a professional agent to act on your behalf (using the agent code)
  • The process would need to be repeated for each property
What are Business Rates?

 

Business Rates, or Non-Domestic Property Rates, are a tax on the occupation (or entitlement to occupy in the case of Empty Property Rates) of non-domestic property in England and Wales.

What is the Rateable Value of my property?

 

Rateable Value is a value given to your business premises which is used to calculate the amount of business rates you pay. The Rateable Value of your property is the Valuation Office Agency’s assessment of its open market annual rental value at a given date and subject to various assumptions.

How are Business Rates calculated?

 

Business Rates are calculated by multiplying the Rateable Value of your property by the Uniform Business Rate. Rateable Values of properties are determined by the Valuation Office Agency. The UBR is a multiplier which is set by central government and adjusted annually. The UBR for the current year 2017/18 is £0.479. 

This calculation can however be affected by the application of Transitional Relief.

What is Transitional Relief?

 

Transitional Relief is aimed at helping to phase in the effects of changes in Rateable Value by limiting the amount by which a bill may rise following a Revaluation. Transitional arrangements generally seek to limit the amount by which a rate liability can increase in any year.

What can I do if I think my Rateable Value is wrong?

 

Your Rateable Value is the Valuation Office’s assessment of the annual rental value of your property and can be challenged. Our rating team have the knowledge and experience to assess your Rateable Value and, where your Rateable Value has been identified as being excessive, we can lodge an appeal with the Valuation Office in order to have it reduced.

A reduction in your Rateable Value results in a reduction in the amount of business rates you pay allowing you to secure refunds on any past payments and to reduce your rate liability going forward.

I have a vacant property; do I have to pay rates?

 

Under current legislation, you will become liable to pay empty rates when you have a vacant property after a period of 3 months from the date it becomes vacant in the case of offices and retail properties, and after a period of 6 months where you have an industrial or warehouse property.

This imposes a significant financial burden on property owners and our team can provide strategic advice to allow you to minimise your empty rates liability.

What is the 'Check Challenge Appeal' process?

 

Check Challenge Appeal is the new appeal procedure for 2017.

Check - This will require us to carefully verify all factual information pertaining to the property prior to any challenge against the assessment. Once we have submitted a “check” the Valuation Office (VO) have up to twelve months to consider it and respond.

Challenge - Once the facts have been verified a detailed assessment, valuation, and ‘Statement of Case’ will have to be provided to the VO in order to challenge the Rateable Value. The VO will then issue a decision notice based on this. At this stage the decision notice may agree with the proposed valuation and reduce the assessment accordingly. The matter will then be finalised. However should the VO not agree there is the right to appeal to the Valuation Tribunal (VT)

Appeal - An appeal to the Valuation Tribunal can only be lodged after a decision notice has been issued by the VO. If the case proceeds to appeal, the appellants will have the opportunity to present their case to an independent panel and cross examine the VO case. A decision is then issued by the VT 28 days after proceedings.

What is the Valuation Tribunal?

 

The Valuation Tribunal is an independent appeals tribunal which deals with rating appeals in England.

Appeals are referred to the Valuation Tribunal where an agreement cannot be reached through negotiation.