Revaluation Further Postponed until 2023
The Government has announced a delay to the next business rates revaluation. The planned April 2021 revaluation has been further deferred until 1st April 2023. The new 2023 List rateable values will be based on 1st April 2021 rental valuations. The intention is to enable the new valuations to be based on 'post Covid' levels of rent. Additionally it will be hoped the Revaluation and resultant rates liabilities will reflect the outcomes of the supposed 'wide ranging' review of business rates to be undertaken later this year.
There will be two immediate impacts. Firstly, business will continue to pay tax based on the pre Brexit and pre Covid levels for longer. Secondly, the 2017 Rating List will now run for 6 years making appeals against the current rateable values even more important as there may be material changes arising from Covid affecting valuations now rather than waiting for 2023.
Anybody with an interest in business rates and its processes should consider responding to the Governments call for evidence by September/October.
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The Chancellor has announced additional relief to apply to retail and leisure occupiers. Qualifying occupiers will now receive 100% rates relief if their Rateable Values are less than £51,000. The uses which qualify now include retail, restaurant, salons, theatres, cinemas, gyms, museums, galleries etc.
The rules are still subject to State Aid which limits total relief to €200,000 over a 3 year period.
These measures are of little help to multiple retailers or operators of most restaurants or shops in the West End whose RV’s will exceed £51,000.
The Chancellor has also announced a general review of the rating system to be completed by Autumn 2020.
Does the impact of Coronavirus comprise a ‘material change’ MCC such that an appeal can be made for a reduction in RV assessments? Good question!
Without getting too technical in order to make an MCC appeal there has to be a physical change to the appeal property or to the ‘locality’ of the property.
The problem with Coronavirus impact is that it does not comprise a physical change. The impacts are none the less severe but would be (in most cases) classified as economic impacts - reduced turnover, fewer customers, less economic activity generally.
If Coronavirus impact caused widespread closures and vacations of properties then it might be argued that a physical change to the locality had occurred by virtue of the change of use of properties from occupied to vacant - but this argument would be very tenuous.
The ‘official’ Valuation Officer response is -
“I do not currently believe that the Coronavirus has resulted in a change in the physical state of any hereditament or the locality in which it is situated, or that the disease is ‘physically manifest‘, which requires an observable change in the locality which can be directly attributed to the Coronavirus. A reduced footfall or level of trade is not capable of being attributed to the disease simply by observation. This is similar to the effect of the terrorist attacks on the twin towers in 2009 where the Upper Tribunal decided that reduced numbers of American visitors following the attacks was not a MCC (In the Appeal of Kendrick (VO)  RA 145.”
Confirmation of the 2020/21
Multipliers and General Information
The Government have announced the UBR Multipliers for 2020/21 for England as set out below
The UBR Multipliers for 2020/21 are confirmed at –
Base UBR 0.499
With Small Business Surcharge 0.512
With Crossrail Surcharge 0.532
With City Surcharge 0.538
These figures represent a 1.7% increase from 2019/20
Base UBR 0.535
The Scottish Multipliers for 2020/21 have been announced in the budget. A new intermediate property rate has been introduced: -
RV up to £51,000 0.498
RV £51,000 to £95,000 0.511
RV over £95,000 0.524
The Chancellor has responded to pleas for more business rates assistance for the High Street by announcing additional relief for small retailers – those with RV’s less than £51,000. Their rates bills have been reduced by one-third (33%) for 2019/20 and will be reduced by 50% for 2020/21.
This relief will apply to retail property, as defined previously in the retail relief policy that was brought out a couple of years ago. A broad definition but with some exclusions. Billing Authorities will have some flexibility at the borderline. It will apply to all properties with an RV under £51,000 i.e. there is not a single property occupation test such as with SBBR. However, the relief will be subject to State Aid limits. This means that the aggregate of relief cannot exceed €200,000 over any 3 year period.
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