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This is a statutory service that deals with the administration, collection and enforcement of Business Rates.

 

Whilst Business Rates are collected by the District Council, the amounts payable are not set by us. We purely act as a collection agency for central government.
 
The main activities of the Council's Business Rates Services are;
  • The issuing of Business Rates bills.     
  • Administration of relief's, exemptions and reductions to bills.
  • The taking of recovery action against people who don't pay their bills, or pay late.
  • Making payment arrangements with people who have difficulty paying their bill.

 

   What are Non-Domestic 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. Under the business rates retention arrangements introduced from 1st April 2013, authorities keep a proportion of the business rates paid locally. This provides a direct financial incentive for authorities to work with local businesses to create a favourable local environment for growth since authorities will benefit from growth in business rates revenues. The money, together with revenue from council tax payers, revenue support grant provided by the Government and certain other sums, is used to pay for the services provided by your Council and other local authorities in your area. Further information about the business rates system, including transitional and other reliefs, may be obtained at http://www.gov.uk/.
 

   What is a Rateable Value?

Apart from properties that are exempt from Business Rates, each non-domestic property has a rateable value which is normally set by the valuation officers of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an agency of the Inland Revenue. It draws up and maintains a full list of all rateable values, available on their website at www.voa.gov.uk  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 1st April 2010, this date was set at 1st April 2008.

The valuation officer may alter the value if the circumstances of the property have changed. The ratepayer (and certain others who have an interest in the property) can also appeal against the value shown in the list if they believe it is wrong.
 
Further information about making appeals can be found on the VOA website or from the Wolverhampton Valuation Office, Crown House, Birch Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 4DS.

Successful appeals against values shown in the rating list that came into force on 1st April 2010 will normally be backdated to that date, although there are exceptions to this. Further information about these arrangements may be found on the VOA website.
 

   What is a National Non-Domestic Rating Multiplier?

The Council 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.

Generally, the multipliers increase in line with inflation according to the Retail Price Index in September of the preceding year. The Government announced in the Autumn Statement 2013 that it will cap the RPI increase in business rates to 2% in 2014-15.

 

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 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. Similarly, the change in the revaluation date to 2017 has no effect on the total amount of revenue raised from business rates. The current multipliers are shown on the front of this bill.

 

   What are Transitional Arrangements?

All rateable values are generally reassessed every five years at a general revaluation to ensure bills paid by any one ratepayer reflect changes over time in the value of their property relative to others. The current rating list is based on the 2010 revaluation. The Government has confirmed that the next revaluation has been postponed until 2017. This will provide greater stability for businesses to encourage economic growth. Five yearly revaluations will continue from 2017.
 
Property values normally change a good deal between each revaluation. Transitional arrangements help to phase in the effects of these changes by limiting increases in bills. 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.
 
The government announced in the Autumn Statement on 3rd December 2014 that it will extend the current transitional relief scheme for properties with a rateable value up to and including £50,000.
This is a discretionary local discount and will be available for one year only.
 
The award of such discounts is considered likely to amount to State Aid. State Aid law is the means by which the European Union regulates state funded support to businesses. Providing discretionary relief to ratepayers is likely to amount to State Aid. However the extension of transitional relief will be State Aid compliant where it is provided in accordance with the De Minimis Regualtions (1407/2013).
 
The De Minimis regualtions allow an undertaking to receive up to €200,000 of De Minimis aid in a three year period (consisiting of the current financial year and the two previouis financial years). If you are receiving, or have received, any 'De Minimis' aid granted during the current or two previous financial years (from any source), you should inform the Council immediately with details of the aid received. 

Further information about transitional arrangements and other reliefs may be obtained using the contact details below.
 

Do I have to pay if my property is empty? 

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.


After the initial three or six month rate-free period expires, empty property will be liable for 100% of the basic occupied business rate, unless it:

1.   Qualifies for the new zero rate provided by the Rating (Empty Properties) Act 2007.
From 1 April 2008 the business rate liability of empty property that is held by a charity and appears likely to be next used for charitable purposes, or that is held by a community amateur sports club and appears unlikely to be next used for the purposes of the club, will be reduced from 10% of the basic occupied rate to zero.

2.    Qualifies for an exemption from business rates under the National Non-Domestic Rate (Unoccupied Property) Regulations.
While the current permanent exemption for industrial property will be reduced to six months, the Government proposes to preserve the majority of the other existing exemptions unchanged. However, the Government is consulting on possible reforms to the exemption for empty property that is listed or subject to a building preservation notice; and on the possibility of extending the exemption from business rates for empty property held by companies in liquidation to that held by companies in administration.
 
3. Unoccupied new builds
The Government has introduced a new temporary measure for unoccupied new builds from October 2013. Unoccupied new builds will be exempt from unoccupied property rates for up to 18 months (up to state aid limits) where the property comes on to the list between 1st October 2013 and 30th September 2016. The 18 month period includes the initial 3 or 6 month exemption and so properties may, if unoccupied, be exempt from non-domestic rates for up to an extra 15 or 12 months.
 

Can I get my property taken out of the rating list altogether?

If your property is not capable of beneficial occupation - for instance, if it is in poor condition and cannot be economically repaired – the Valuation Office Agency may judge that it should be taken out of the rating list altogether. However, please be aware that if the state of your property is damaged for the purposes of avoiding the business rate, under new anti-avoidance legislation to be introduced by the Government the Valuation Office Agency will be required to disregard the change in the property's state when assessing its rateable value. So for instance, if the roof is removed from an empty property for the purposes of avoiding the business rate, it may be valued as if the roof had not been removed.

The Government is currently consulting on the detailed operation of these new anti-avoidance measures.

 

How will my Business Rates liability be affected if my property is only partly occupied?

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 Council has discretion in certain cases to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part. Full details can be obtained from the Council.

 

   Rating Advisors

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 – see below) and the Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation (IRRV - see below) 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.
 

Can I appeal against the changes in my Business Rates liability?

The changes in business rate liability arising from the reforms to empty property relief are not in themselves grounds for appeal. However, if you disagree with the rateable value that appears in the current rating list entry for your property, under the existing arrangements you may challenge it by making a 'proposal' against it to the Valuation Office Agency. Your rights of appeal are not affected by the reforms to empty property relief and you can contact this authority or the Valuation Office Agency for further information about the arrangements for making proposals.

 
External Link: Business Link
 
If you feel you have received a good service we would be pleased to hear from you.  However, if you are not happy with the service you have been provided, please contact Tracey Richards on telephone (01902) 696622 or e-mail mailto:t.richards@asstaffs.gov.uk to discuss any issues you may have.  After contacting us if you still feel that your enquiry has not been dealt with appropriately and wish to make a formal complaint, please click on this link Complaints about the Council.

 

 

Contact

 

Business Rates Enquiries   Revenues & Benefits
Telephone: (01902) 696669   South Staffordshire Council
Fax: (01902) 696630   Wolverhampton Road
Email: taxation@sstaffs.gov.uk   Codsall
    South Staffordshire
    WV8 1PX

 

 

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