Our business rate advisers make appeals on all types of property and negotiate reductions in Rateable Value to save money for our clients.
We also provide a comprehensive business rate payment and refund management service, relieving our clients completely of the burden of managing their rates.
Business Rates is a very substantial and increasingly complex tax on the owners and occupiers of commercial property and requires proper management. The 2010 Rating Revaluation of all non-domestic property presents special challenges in the current economic climate.
Whether based in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland or the Republic of Ireland our team has the necessary expertise to negotiate your business rates reductions.
Rates are a major outgoing to businesses but have become increasingly complex to understand and accurately calculate. The option to defer part of the increase in rates for 2009/10 until 2010/11 and 2011/12 increases still further the complexity of administering rates and keeping costs under control.
There is now a wide raft of supplements and adjustments which impact on most ratepayers' liability including transitional adjustments, the Small Business Supplement, Business Improvement District (BID) Levies, The City of London supplement, new Business Rates Supplements from 2010/11, Empty Rates exemption temporary changes, backdated inclusion in the Rating List relief and rate demands from new Unitary Authorities.
We have made substantial investment in a bespoke, web-enabled, continually developing software package to manage the payment of Business Rates.
This system is a comprehensive package integrating both our Business Rates Payment Management and Appeals work (please note that Business Rates Payment Management can be provided as a stand-alone service). GLHIMS is versatile, it can:
Non-domestic rating revaluations take place every five years in England, Scotland and Wales. Business rates are a major cost to organisations and it is important to budget as accurately as possible for future changes in liability.
The 1st April 2010 saw the commencement of the 2010 Revaluation and this is particularly important at the time of a revaluation when there are significant changes in the burden of rates borne by different classes of property and in different locations.
The number of steps in the timetable demonstrates how complex the business rates system has become. The draft list which ran from end of September 2009 comes into effect from 1st April 2010 it is only now that formal appeals can be made. We are able to provide full and accurate projections of business rates liability for 2010/11 which account for all the components used to calculate liability for each property
The appeal deadline for 2005 List assessments was the 31st March 2010 although there remain limited rights to appeal as a result of Valuation Tribunal Decisions (the time limit for an appeal on these grounds is 30th September 2010) and for alterations made by the Valuation Officer which are limited to within 6 months of the date of alteration – no alterations can be made after 1st April 2011.
Through the acquisition of GL Hearn, we are the largest provider of outsourced Business Rates Payment Management services in the UK, having pioneered this service in 1990 and currently managing £1.5bn of funds annually on behalf of our varied client base made up of many leading UK retail brand names.
Managing the administration of Business Rates payments can prove to be burdensome to any business, especially those with large property portfolios. We distribute funds to Billing Authorities on your behalf, leaving you to send us one lump sum each month - this is preferable to you making individual payments, which is time consuming and costly.
We use GLHIMS, a bespoke software package, to manage the processing of Business Rates appeals and payments. GLHIMS is web-enabled and allows real-time 24 hour client access where required.
In addition to recovering refunds arising from Rateable Value reductions, we also seek to obtain savings by using our knowledge of legislation concerning reliefs, exemptions, and Business Rates mitigation schemes.
In England and Wales, from the date a property is vacated the ratepayer is normally liable to pay 100% business rates after an initial void rates period.
The void period is three months except for industrial properties where it is six months. There are limited exceptions, eg empty Listed Buildings are exempt from business rates while empty. In Scotland, 50% rates are payable after three months for most properties but no rates are payable on industrial properties while they remain unoccupied.
There are a number of ways of mitigating the cost of unoccupied property business rates. We provide advice to clients on these strategies which include intermittent occupation, occupation by a charity or in extreme cases stripping-out or demolishing a vacant building to render it incapable of economic repair. For part-occupied properties, steps can be taken to obtain rates relief in respect of the vacant part.
Some properties are exempt from business rates eg agricultural land, places of public religious worship and property used for disabled persons etc.
There are also numerous reliefs available, some of which have to be applied for - these include charitable relief, small business relief and rural shops relief. The rules and amounts vary between countries and we advise clients accordingly.
When a property becomes empty an initial period of void relief is given. When property becomes partly empty, a division of the assessment might be possible with empty rates relief given on the vacant part, but an alternative quicker method is to apply for rates relief under Section 44A Local Government Finance Act 1988. This relief is available at the discretion of the Local Authority concerned.
We review the use clients make of their properties and advises on proposals for maximising business rates exemptions and reliefs.
A new building which is not complete cannot normally be assessed and liable for unoccupied business rates.
However, if the work remaining to complete a new building can reasonably be expected to be completed within three months, a local authority can serve a Completion Notice stating the day when the property is deemed to be complete. Local authorities are increasingly using this procedure to seek to bring new properties into assessment.
Complete in this context means when the building is ready for occupation not merely structurally complete. It is also important to be aware that the owner has only four weeks from receipt of a Completion Notice in which to appeal. Finally, it is necessary to check the completion notice has been correctly served. A Completion Notice for business rates should not be confused with a Completion Certificate relating to the completion of contractual building works.
The 2010 business rates revaluation took place against the background of very difficult economic conditions.
Notwithstanding this, government is exploring ways of using rates to help fund an increasing number of projects, eg Business Improvement District (BID) levies and the Business Rates Supplement in London from 1 April 2010 to help fund Crossrail. Government also look at business rates to raise finance generally, eg through empty property rates.
We continuously lobby government and represents the interests of its clients in consultations. Our presence on all the major representative bodies gives us access to regular discussion with HM Treasury (HMT), Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG).
This enables us to keep our clients informed about important policy developments in the area of business rates and to help influence those policies as they develop
Capita Real Estate and Infrastructure work with public and private sector organisations to design, build and optimise their real estate and infrastructure assets. From thought to finish, we apply our combined expertise to achieve more from the entire built environment.
We build competitive advantage through intelligently applied real estate and infrastructure solutions and enhance our clients’ standing in a forever-changing world.