BPF DEMANDS REVIEW OF “CRIPPLING” BUSINESS RATES

The British Property Federation (BPF) has added its voice to growing calls for the government to review its approach to business rates.

Chancellor George Osborne has come under increasing pressure to commit to more frequent reviews of the tax, after an FOI request from retail campaigner Paul Turner-Mitchell revealed that a third of business owners have appealed against the amount they have been asked to pay since the last review was enforced in 2010.

These appeals are expected to cost the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) £4.2 billion, based on successful claims between 2010 and 2015.

The BPF says this supports their view that current business rates are “crippling small businesses”, and wants to see the tax reviewed every one or two years to ensure it remains in line with the property prices and the UK’s “economic reality”.

BUSINESS OWNERS ANGERED BY GOVERNMENT DELAYS

Reviews are scheduled to take place every five years, but the government delayed the planned 2013 assessment until 2017 on the basis that any change would cause uncertainty for businesses.

This decision provoked a negative reaction from business owners, particularly when it was discovered that the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), which helps to repay businesses that mount a successful appeal, was sitting on a surplus of £2.1 billion despite government rules forbidding it from making a profit.

However, the VOA has since claimed that with 131,700 appeals still to be heard from as far back as March, their estimates will eventually prove to be relatively accurate.

ASK FIDUCIA ABOUT BUSINESS RATES

While the government continues to drag its feet, it is important to note that there are ways you can help mitigate your business rate obligations.

Fiducia can advise you on tax efficient, legally compliant strategies that will help you safeguard your long-term finances. Call us today on 01625 599 200 to find out more.