From 1 April 2017, the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) has updated the rateable value of all business properties. This is known as a revaluation.
The VOA generally reassesses all rateable values in England and Wales every five years, based on their open market rental value on a fixed date, although the last revaluation was in 2010. This revaluation is based on rental values on 1 April 2015. Rateable values are used by councils to calculate your business rates bill.
Revaluation is done to maintain fairness in the system by redistributing the total amount payable in business rates, reflecting changes in the property market. Revaluation does not raise extra revenue overall.
The VOA uses a wide range of property information and rental and other evidence to compare values across similar types of properties in order to set the rateable value.
There were a number of announcements made in the budget on 8 March 2017 regarding small business rates relief, reductions for pubs whose RV is below £100,000 and that there will be monies towards discretional relief.
All Local Authorities have been provided with a sum of money under discretionary powers which means there is no proposed national scheme or guidance on awarding the relief and it needs to be determined locally. At Cabinet on 5 February 2018 members therefore agreed a revised policy for 2017-18 and a policy for 2018-19:
The government issued guidance and information on this scheme on 20th June 2017 , as the change has been issued under discretionary powers, the Council’s Cabinet approved the Discretionary Scheme for 2018-19 on 5th February 2018.
This scheme is defined under the regulations and new bills have been issued to those who qualify. If you believe you may qualify and have not received a revised bill or have difficulty with making payments, you should contact the business rates team as soon as possible to discuss the matter on 01753 772220.
If your business is suffering financial hardship, the council has discretion to give relief in special circumstances. Please contact us to discuss your specific circumstances.
In some circumstances the Council Can award General Relief – this is under a local policy please see below – please contact the Business Rates section if you wish to make an application for General Rate Relief.
In some circumstances relief is available if your property has a rateable value under £15,000 and this is your only business property in England. Find out more on our Small business rate relief page or contact us.
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 to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part. For full details contact us at Business Rates.
If your business premises is empty you may be able to obtain a discount.
The exemption is not reset with a change of liable party. The property has to be fully occupied and used for a commercial purpose for at least 6 weeks before the exemption can be reset.
Registered charities are entitled to 80% rate relief on their business rates, and may apply for an additional 20% extra relief called discretionary relief if certain criteria is met. This criteria is determined by us as the local authority.
Non-profit making bodies can apply for discretionary relief up to 100%.
The council also has an inward investment policy for certain new business coming into the borough to generate additional benefit to the council.
The Government is providing funding to local authorities so that they can provide a discount worth up to £1,500 a year for 2 years from 1st April 2017, to office space occupied by local newspapers. This is up to a maximum of one discount per local newspaper title and per hereditament, and up to state aid limits. The relief will be delivered through local authority discretionary discount powers (under section 47(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988). Eligibility criteria for this relief is set out in a guidance note: “The case for a business rates relief for local newspapers”.
The award of this relief is considered likely to amount to state aid. However, it will be state aid compliant where it is provided in accordance with the De Minimis Regulations EC 1407/2013. The Regulations allow an undertaking to receive up to €200,000 ‘de minimis’ aid over a rolling three-year period.
If you are receiving, or have received, any ‘de minimis’ aid including any other form of discretionary rate relief for these premises or others, whether within Slough or elsewhere, granted during the current or two previous financial years (from any source), you should inform the business rates office immediately with details of the aid received.