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Business rates 2017 – Who wins and who loses?

Business rates 2017 – Who wins and who loses?

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The new business rates list for England and Wales was published at the end of September. The new rateable values come into force from 1st April 2017 but what does it mean for local occupiers?

John Birchall of our Ipswich office explains: At this stage we cannot fully assess the implications of any changes because the list is only a draft and specific information about the uniform business rate multiplier has not been released. However, it is reasonable to assume that, as always, there will be winners and losers next April.

Overall, the government has estimated the total rateable value reduction in the Eastern region to be approximately 6%. Within this region, the real winners are likely to be retailers, who will see an apparent reduction of 13%, or as much as 35% in certain parts of Ipswich. Office and industrial sectors both claim a 7% reduction.

On the flip side, warehousing is seeing an increase in rateable values, with parts of Felixstowe affected by a 15% rise. Although this trend is less pronounced in other centres.

Before celebrating any gains, occupiers should be aware that any changes in rateable values are limited by transitional relief - a process which smooths large changes in rateable values over time. For example, the retailers who are due a 35% drop in rateable values, will only see a 4.1% saving in rates payable in the first year. Transitional relief applies to increases in rateable value too - albeit more liberally - with uncapped increases of up to 45% possible.

What can you do if you don’t think the rateable valuation set by Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is right? You can appeal. And less well-known and understood are the planned reforms to the appeals procedure. Consultation is well underway for the implementation of a new ‘check, challenge, appeal’ process. There will be strict time limits on each stage of the appeals process, and the appellant will be limited to a single appeal. With only one bite at the cherry, it will be absolutely critical to ensure that any claim is compiled correctly and that the strict deadlines are met. 

Fenn Wright handle appeals in relation to all types of business premises for clients in Essex and Suffolk. Our first-hand market knowledge and database of comparables means we have a full understanding of the valuation issues affecting rating and we are experts in the complexities of transitional, charitable and listed buildings relief.

If you wish to discuss your specific situation please get in touch.

Contact John Birchall MRICS about business rates appeals Ipswich and Suffolk
Contact Hayman Wheaton MRICS about business rates appeals Colchester and Essex

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