Scottish government presses ahead with business rates reform

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The Scottish Government has announced plans to introduce a new Bill on business rates that will see more regular valuations and improved standards of information.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon addressed the Scottish Parliament yesterday (September 4) to set out the Scottish Government’s Programme for Scotland, which detailed legislative priorities for the government in 2018/19. The address included plans to introduce a Non-Domestic Rates Bill that will implement recommendations from its Barclay Review on the business tax. These include: moving to a three-year valuation cycle for business rates, improving rates administration to give better information to ratepayers and reduce the number of appeals, and reform reliefs to tackle known avoidance measures.

The announcement follows the introduction of the Scottish Government’s Business Growth Accelerator Relief in April, which delays rates bills caused by property improvements such as installing CCTV cameras or air conditioning for 12 months.

An advisory group to the Scottish Government will report later this year to announce any further decisions on the implementation of the new Bill, which has been welcomed by the Association of Convenience Stores.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We welcome the Scottish Government’s proactive approach to reform the business rates system, which builds on the new Business Growth Accelerator Relief that the Scottish Government recognises is already stimulating growth and incentivising investment. The Business Rates Bill should improve transparency for retailers and more regular revaluations will provide more accurate rates bills for retailers”.

For more information on the Scottish Government’s proposals, click here.  

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