The government has launched a new consultation to investigate the potential of moving towards three-yearly revaluations of business rates from five-yearly and simplifying the appeals system.
The consultation, launched by HM Treasury, is part of the government’s fundamental review of the business rates system, the initial call for evidence was launched in July 2020 and the interim report was published in March 2021.
The consultation also proposes a number of new requirements on retailers, including a duty to notify the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) about property changes that affect business rates liabilities such as structural alterations, extensions or conversions and the mandatory provision of rental and lease information, for example rent amounts and what it includes, agreed incentives, responsibilities and rent reviews.
According to the consultation document, the government’s objectives for this review are: reducing the overall burden on businesses; improving the current business rates system and considering more fundamental changes in the medium-to-long-term.
The next revaluation will take effect in 2023 and to enable it to reflect the impact of Covid-19 more closely, this revaluation will be based on property values as of 1 April 2021.
In response to the previous consultation on a fundamental review of the business rates system, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) had called for a move to three-yearly revaluations from 2023 to strike a balance between certainty for business and VOA resource.
The outcome of this consultation, and the wider business rates review, is expected in the Autumn.
On the proposals, ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We support the move to more frequent revaluations and streamlining the complex business rates appeals system. However, the VOA needs to be properly resourced to accurately assess property taxes rather than the burden of providing information falling on businesses who do not have the systems and administrative scale to do this.
“While we welcome the opportunity to engage further with the Treasury on these proposals, we do not believe they represent fundamental reform to the system by themselves. The Chancellor should take this opportunity to reimagine the system so it incentivises business investment.”
Responses can be submitted online via this link: www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/businessratesreview2020/ which can also be accessed directly via the GOV.UK webpage under the Business Rates Review Call for Evidence. Responses and general queries about the content or scope of this call for evidence can also be sent by email to BusinessRatesReview2020@hmtreasury.gov.uk.