Business Rates Reform – More Frequent Revaluations

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In November 2021, the government launched a technical consultation setting out how it intends to give effect to a number of measures arising from the conclusion of its fundamental review of Business Rates in England. This twelve week consultation will draw to a close on 22 February 2022 and will be used to inform implementation of one of the key tenets of the review – the strong desire for a system of more frequent revaluations.

How, then, does the technical consultation propose to deliver three-yearly revaluations? The onus will be very much upon businesses to provide the information relevant to their valuation, such as changes in lease agreements or improvements to their property. The consultation proposes that rateable occupiers will need to update the VOA each time circumstances change relating to occupier and property characteristics and commercial and lease information; there will be an annual confirmation stage, requiring ratepayers to access an online service to confirm they have provided all the information required of them. Ratepayers will be expected to work out their obligations and, where an obligation has been triggered, there will be a requirement to login to the online service to provide the information in a 30 calendar day window. Non-compliance may result in penalties ranging from £300 to £900, depending upon the rateable value of the property, with an additional charge of £60 per day for continuing non-compliance. The provision of false information could result in a penalty of £500.

It seems these proposed measures will increase the administrative burden on the ratepayer and make an already complex system even more burdensome. The government considers these reforms will be crucial to ultimately going further and shortening the Antecedent Valuation Date (AVD). This is the date set by Parliament on which all business rates valuations are based, and we feel it is essential this date is brought closer to the revaluation date. We hope these plans will support the successful implementation of three-yearly revaluation cycles and hasten the reduction in the gap between AVD and revaluation.

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