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The local District Valuer assesses the Rateable Value (RV) of each commercial, ie all non-domestic property.  To this RV is applied the Uniform Business Rate (UBR) which then gives the business rate liability for each year.  For the year commencing 1 April 2015 the standard UBR is 49.3 pence in the pound, but for properties with an RV of less than £18,000 it reduces slightly to 48.0 pence in the pound.  If the RV is considered excessive or inaccurate then it can be appealed.  The right result is usually achieved by negotiation but in some cases disputes are referred to a Rating Tribunal.

Small Business Rate Relief

This gives a sliding scale of concessions to businesses with Rateable Values of up to £12,000 (outside London).  The Government has announced an extension of the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme until 31 March 2015.  For business premises with an RV of up to £6,000 then 100% Business Rate Relief can be claimed.  If your RV is between £6,000 and £12,000, then a sliding scale between 100% and 0% will apply.  For properties with a Rateable Value in excess of £12,000 full rates are payable.

Detailed information is available from the Valuation Office Agency website:-

Empty Business Rates

Since 1 April 2008, empty shops and office premises have exemption from rates for only the first 3 months they are unoccupied.  Industrial and warehousing properties now only have 6 months exemption.  After that full business rates are normally then payable.  Only commercial properties with an RV of less than £2,600 are currently exempt from this empty rates charge.

This is a contentious tax raising exercise by Government as rates are supposed to be a tax on occupation rather than ownership.  Drake Commercial have been successful in lawfully mitigating our clients empty business rates liability in a number of cases, as a temporary re-use then enabled a subsequent rates free period.  Please contact us for further information.

Drake Commercial can check your current business rates assessment and advise whether an appeal may be worthwhile and successful.  Our fees are usually performance or success related.  Sometimes savings are significant but our advice recognises that it would be counter-productive to appeal where there is only a small chance of success.