The 2013 Autumn Statement introduced a number of measures designed to reduce the burden of business rates. From 1 April 2014, businesses will be able to spread the cost of their business rates over 12 monthly instalments, rather than in 10 instalments as at present. Further, the business rates increase will be capped at 2% for the year commencing April 2014 for all businesses, as opposed to a 3.2% increase to match inflation.
We detail below some of the key proposals from the past 6 months that may benefit your business.
Small Business Rate Relief
Small business rate relief has been extended for another year until 31 March 2015.
Eligible businesses occupying premises with a rateable value of not more than £6,000 are entitled to 100% relief from business rates. Further, there is a tapered relief for properties with a rateable value between £6,001 and £12,000.
In addition and with effect from 1 April 2014, where a ratepayer begins to occupy an additional property (that would otherwise cause them to lose the relief) the ratepayer will continue to benefit from small business rates relief for the first 12 months of occupation.
In an attempt by the government to support town centres, retail premises with a rateable value of up to £50,000, will receive a business rates reduction of £1,000 in 2014-2015 and 2015-2016. The amount does not vary with rateable value and there is no taper.
Premises which benefit from this reduction include pubs, cafes, restaurants and charity shops but not banks and betting shops. Furthermore, premises which are not wholly or mainly used for the qualifying purpose will not qualify for this relief.
Businesses moving into retail premises as new occupants between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2016, where such premises were previously empty for one year or more, will receive a business rates discount of up to 50% for 18 months.
It is hoped that this will help to reduce the number of boarded up shops on High Streets across the country.
Unoccupied New Non-Domestic Builds
Local Authorities may grant a discretionary relief of up to 100% from rates on non-domestic new build properties. The relief will apply for a maximum of 18 months from the date of completion of the buildings and relates to buildings completed between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2016. Completion is deemed to have occurred once the building is ready for occupation for the purpose for which it was constructed. In order to exclude refurbished buildings, the building must comprise wholly or mainly (guidance indicates that this means more than half) qualifying new structures. Structures mean foundations, permanent walls and/or permanent roofs.
The relief will run with the property rather than the owner and therefore developers will be able to sell or lease the property with the benefit of the remaining term of relief.
What You Should Do
If you are entitled to a relief make sure you claim for it, if you do not you might not receive your entitlement.
If you would like any further information or advice on this please contact Mark Lavers on 020 7209 2013 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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