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Govt seeks feedback on business rates revaluations

Govt seeks feedback on business rates revaluations

The government is seeking feedback on its plans to increase the regularity of business rates revaluations.

The Treasury has today (June 29) released a consultation on the measures which could see revaluations take place every three years instead of the current five.

The consultation is part of a wider review into business rates which will be published in the autumn.

The rates, which are levied against a business' property, raise about £25bn in England each year. Decisions on business rates are devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Part of the problem with the current system is that the rateable value of a property is calculated every five years, and so businesses paying rates based on the value of a high street location could be paying them at a level that might not reflect the declining popularity of high streets in recent years.

Jesse Norman, financial secretary to the Treasury, said: “As our economy is recovering, we are supporting businesses to build back better.

“Proposals set out in this consultation would mean that valuations more quickly reflect how the economy is performing, making the business rates system more accurate and responsive, while balancing the burden for ratepayers.”

The potential new rules, which were first announced in the Queen’s Speech in December 2019, are part of a review that was launched in July 2020. 

The Treasury's review is focussing on reforms to the current system to make the tax more sustainable, the administration of the rates, and exploring possible alternatives.

It is also looking into the role of business rates in funding local government, the practical challenges involved in possible reforms and the implications of any changes for the devolved administrations.

The review will not consider the overall level of funding for local government.

A call for evidence conducted as part of this review found that more frequent revaluations were a priority for respondents.

The government hopes the increased frequency of revaluations will achieve three key objectives.

The first will be to improve the accuracy of valuations by providing a more regular flow of information.

The second is to reform and streamline the appeals system, by enabling the valuation office agency (VOA) to approach challenges in thematic or localised batches, and the third objective is to provide ratepayers with increased transparency around their valuations.

The government previously agreed to undertake more frequent valuations, bringing the next valuation forward to 2021, however the pandemic has delayed this to 2023. The last revaluations were carried out in 2017.

sally.hickey@ft.com