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Could business rates mitigation reduce your bill?

Posted: 11th August 2016

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A business rates mitigation strategy might be something to consider if you are affected by the dramatic changes to empty property relief which came into force in April.

Many ratepayers, especially those with vacant industrial properties, have seen their business rates bill skyrocket.  To put this in context, the owner of an industrial unit with a Rateable Value (RV) of £100k which has been unoccupied for 6 months prior to 1 April 2016, will have seen their business rates bill immediately jump from £0 to £45k.

These changes have further compounded the difficulties already felt by landlords trying to let vacant commercial properties.

Adding to this pain is the two-year postponement of the Rating Revaluation from 2015 to 2017; this has negatively impacted many businesses because it delayed the re-adjustment of values to reflect market conditions, leaving RVs set at the pre-recession and peak market levels of early 2008.  This has meant rates bills levels remained static and has acted as a major deterrent to attracting occupiers.

If you are an owner, occupier or landlord facing empty rates charges you should speak to a commercial property advisor to see if there is a way for them to lower your rating liability.  There are various rates mitigation strategies to successfully reduce bills.  For example, we can work within the regulations to reset the rates free period by finding a short-term occupier for a vacant unit.

There are however various mitigation strategies available and to be effective, a strategy needs to be tailored to each client’s individual situation. In some cases, a mixture of different strategies including a review of the building/occupation use might be the most effective way to achieve maximum savings.

Mitigation strategies can include:

  • Arranging short term occupation of the space followed by reoccupation
  • Working with registered charities that require additional space that qualify for charitable relief
  • Assessing how best to use the redundant space within property/ properties
  • Establishing whether the property falls within one of the exempt categories and therefore qualifies for 100% rates relief. The categories are:
  1. Listed Building
  2. Insolvency, bankruptcy or administration
  3. Legal prohibition for occupying the property e.g. no valid fire certificate, essential work is required
  4. Properties with rateable value less than £1,700

Ryden’s team of rating specialists is currently offering a rates mitigation strategy consultation to those hit with empty rates bills to investigate if the firm can markedly reduce the amount of rates they pay. For more information contact Moira Walker today: moira.walker@ryden.co.uk / 0141 270 3148.

 

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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