Businesses thrown a rates bill 'googly'

The Forum of Private Business has said that small firms "should query their new business rates bill if they believe it is too high."

The organisation says that more than 1.5 million business rate bills are being received as a result of new rateable values, which are reassessed by councils every five years, and that "on average retailers' business rates bills will increase by 15.7% from April 2005."

But the Forum of Private Business said many of its members had "been thrown a googly by the new bills and had contacted FPB to complain they cannot claim Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) becau

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John Stokdyk's picture

FSB takes similar line - but figures differ

John Stokdyk | | Permalink

The Federation of Small Business issued a similar release, but strangely estimated the likely increase to be 15.7%.

The increases were due to a combination of three factors, the FSB said:

  • an increase of more than 3% to account for inflation
  • the recent five-yearly revaluation of business premises that has led to a huge increase in the rateable value of shops, particularly in affluent areas,
  • an extra 4% increase to safeguard the government against any revenue it will lose from subsequent successful revaluation appeals.

    FSB Business Rates Chairman Roger Culcheth commented: “Many small firms will see an increase in their business rate bills but retailers across the south of England face the biggest hikes.

    “Business rates are the second or third highest item of expenditure for most small firms and are five times more expensive as a proportion of turnover than they are for large companies. The odds are already stacking up against small shops and we are concerned that some independent retailers will find it impossible to absorb these additional costs.

    “Rates relief gives some protection to small businesses but many small shops in affluent parts of the country fall above the £10,000 threshold. Small business rates relief should be extended to all business premises with a rateable value of less than £25,000.”

    John Stokdyk
    Editor
    AccountingWEB.co.uk

  • John Stokdyk's picture

    Everyone should query their valuations

    John Stokdyk | | Permalink

    The FPB representative in Bristol has passed on the following comment from business rates consultant Bill Woodward, who trades under the name of Grangewood Consultants (Tel 0117 956 7252).

    "Ratepayers should query their rates even if it is 'as expected'. I am finding mistakes made in valuations that if not checked could go unchallenged. Recently I discovered a shop which on the surface appeared ordinary and of not much interest, but on closer examination proved to be nearly 20m2 overpriced. This was due to a passage having been carved out of the side of the shop some 10 yrs ago, but which had not been acknowledged on the ratepayer’s valuation or bill.

    "People should also be reminded that they need to re-apply for the Small Business Rates Relief each year and deadlines exist on this."

    On the subject of the national average rateable average increase, Woodward's figures suggest 17.3%. "But here in the South West we are amongst highest in UK with 23.34%. Ahead of us is South East with 23.65%."

    Thanks for the additional information, Bill.

    John Stokdyk
    Editor
    AccountingWEB.co.uk