Business owners should check rates as revaluation looms

Business owners should act now to check their rateable values with just over a year to go until the next major changes.

The arrival of this year’s rates demands presents the ideal opportunity to check that property details held by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) are accurate and will not result in costly errors with the next revaluation in April 2021.

An error in a business’s favour can still affect their bottom line adversely because increases imposed to remedy mistakes can be backdated. It is important to note that the business rates review promised by the government is unlikely to influence the 2021 revaluation.

Rates bills which will arrive from March are likely to be increased by the new level of Uniform Business Rate and other factors might include removal or adjustment of rates reliefs, potential adjustment from transitional relief, any measures in the March 2020 budget and any significant changes to a property.

The bills for next year will come out at a similar time and will reflect the revaluation from 1 April 2021. The VOA is working on it now based on an analysis of rents from April 2019. There will be winners and losers and the draft list will be published later this year.

Rather than wait for that, businesses should act now to check survey details and the subsequent rateable value as well as any rates reliefs, because if the current rateable value is based on incorrect information it’s also likely to be wrong when they do the next one.

The 2021 rating list will last for three years or possibly longer because it can take a long time to recover any money you are owed if you have to go through the Check, Challenge, Appeal system.