“Are Business Owners Aware of the Contents of Their Business Rates Bills?”

Business Rates Bills to Increase Again in 2024, RVA Surveyors Urges Businesses to Understand Their Bills

As we approach the end of 2023, businesses across the UK are bracing themselves for yet another increase in their business rates bills. This comes as no surprise, as the government has announced a 6.7% increase in business rates from April 1st, 2024, in line with the September 2023 inflation rate. However, this increase will only affect commercial properties with a rateable value (RV) of over £51,000.

For many businesses, this news may come as a shock as they receive their rates bills for the upcoming year. While this increase may not break businesses, it could prove to be a significant financial burden, especially for those with larger liabilities. This, coupled with the fact that the government has failed to provide any significant tax breaks, has left many business owners frustrated and concerned about the future of their businesses.

So, what should businesses be looking for when they receive their rates bills? According to RVA Surveyors, it is essential to check for the following:

– Ensure all details are correct, including address, name, and property information
– Check the schedule of payments due
– Verify the amount paid
– Confirm the continuation of any reliefs
– Look for any credits or debts on the account that were previously unknown

It is crucial for businesses to thoroughly examine their rates bills as even small errors or changes can have a significant impact. If businesses are unsure about any aspect of their bill, it is recommended to seek professional help to understand it better.

While local authorities are responsible for distributing and collecting business rates, it is the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) that calculates and attributes them. However, unlike smaller businesses, which will benefit from the freeze on the small business multiplier and the Retail Hospitality and Leisure (RHL) relief, medium and larger businesses will face their second increase in just twelve months. According to RVA Surveyors, this increase will cost business rates payers an additional £1.5 billion.

Furthermore, data from the government shows that in the first six months of the 2023 rating list, almost 40% of the submitted checks were still outstanding by November. Additionally, only 7% of cases were resolved in the same timeframe. This highlights the need for businesses to be proactive in understanding and appealing their rates bills.

Anthony Hughes, managing director of RVA Surveyors, stated, “Cases can be thrown out on the smallest technicality. How are people supposed to find the time to learn and navigate the complicated process set by the government to reduce business rates, while also running a business?”

Hughes also emphasized the importance of physical, on-site inspections to ensure the accuracy of a property’s business rates. He stated, “Given the size of the VOA, it is not a stretch that they are able to inspect every commercial property within a rating list period.”

With the upcoming increase in business rates and the complexities of understanding rates bills, businesses are urged to take the necessary steps to protect their finances. RVA Surveyors recommends seeking professional help to navigate the process and ensure that businesses are not paying more than they should be.

Derick is an experienced reporter having held multiple senior roles for large publishers across Europe. Specialist subjects include small business and financial emerging markets.

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