Are you paying too much in business rates?

Is this question something that has been on your mind lately? But you haven’t taken any action as you don’t know what to do.

The reality is there are some quite simple things you can do to ensure you are not paying too much in business rates. Here are our tips.

First things first, without even having to get into the detail of checking if your rateable value (RV) is correct check if you are claiming for any small business rates relief (SBRR), assuming you re eligible.

Small business rates relief

If your company has premises with a RV up to £12,000 then you qualify for SBRR. Business rates will be reduced to zero where your RV is under £6,000. For RV’s between £6,001 and £12,000 the reduction will be between 1% and 50%.

There is some leg work to do here though as councils are not obliged to issue this automatically, it must be claimed. It is important to note that claims can be backdated to 2010 for SBBR – good to know!

Assessing your rateable value

Assuming you are claiming the relevant SBBR the RV of your property should still be reviewed for accuracy.

Rough calculations suggest rates are between 45p and 47p per £1 of your property’s RV. Exact RV’s can be found on your annual rates statement but should be scrutinised and researched in more detail.

Here is how:

Visit the Valuation Office’s online database http://www.2010.voa.gov.uk/rli/

Ensure the following are correct:

  • The description of your premises – for example are you assessed as a shop when you are an office?
  • The floor area – actually measure up your premises for accuracy
  • Is the RV similar to other properties in the area – simply use their postcode in the database to check (Of course, there may be other reasons why your neighbour is rated differently but good to review and understand)

Next steps

If you suspect that you are paying too much in business rates then you have two options:

1) Appeal to the council direct for a reduction in the RV, or

2) Seek the help of a professional “rating specialist” who can assist you – for a fee of course!

Just be careful that by drawing the attention of your premises to the council will result in a full examination and it can in fact go the other way and increase your RV if you haven’t got your facts right!