Archive for November, 2016

Business Rates

Business rates are payable on most non-domestic properties.  The rateable values used for these properties in England and Wales have recently been reviewed.  Proposed new rateable values were published in draft by the Government on 30 September 2016 and these figues (based on April 2015 rental values) will form the basis of business rate demands from 1 April 2017.  Press coverage has reported that businesses in London will bear the brunt of the increase.  The Guardian states that, for instance, shops on the Capital’s Regent Street will face an 87% increase whereas those in Northern towns will ‘enjoy a drop of up to 56%’.  In Scotland, too, business rates are to be reviewed in 2017.  The anticipated review in Northern Ireland is yet to be announced.  The multipliers (poundage rate in Scotland) also used in business rate calculation will be reviewed, too.

In addition, an important court case relating to business rates has been heard in the Supreme Court although it is uncertain when judgement will be given.  In Newbegin v SJ & J Monk [2015] EWCA Civ 78 (citation for the appealed Court of Appeal judgement), the Court is to determine the physical state of premises before liability for rates is assumed.  The premises were stripped out for refurbishment.  The question is would the premises be capable of beneficial occupation and hence liable for rates?

Finally, some 57 cases were heard together early in 2016 by the Valuation Tribunal relating to whether or not Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), such as one finds in supermarkets, should be valued as a separate hereditament from its host store or premises for business rate purposes.  If separate, it was feared business rates payable on ATMs would be substantial.  In each case, the Tribunal found ATMs were to be classed as separate hereditaments.  It is understood that Sainsburys and others are appealing these decisions.

Watch this space for further news on these appeals.