Two Weeks to Claim Business Rates Rebates

Business owners who think they have been overcharged on their business rates, since the last revaluation in 2005, have only got until the end of March to apply for a rebate.

New rateable values are introduced on 1st April 2010. Businesses that think they have been overcharged during the past five years can contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to make an appeal, but they must do so before the 31st March deadline.

Firms can reclaim on business rates by showing they are paying more than neighbouring properties or by proving that there has been a material change in their circumstances since 2005 ― for example, if there is a high proportion of empty shops in the area.

They can also appeal against their new rateable value, which is based on April 2008 rental values, to avoid being overcharged from 1st April 2010.

According to the Forum of Private Business (FPB), around 160,000 small businesses have already won backdated reductions in their rates since 1st April 2005, when the current rateable period began.

“Appeals can be made free of charge, and making an appeal is fairly straightforward,”

said FPB business rates adviser, Andrew Bacon.

“There is then a discussion period where the person making the appeal explains to the VOA what they think is wrong. If no agreement can be reached, the appeal goes to tribunal but that only happens in about one in every few hundred cases.”

“Many businesses will see their rates bills soar in the coming months and years but they do have a general right of appeal. Following the new rates revaluations they can make one main appeal for the period April 2010 to March 2015. However, until 31st March this year they can still appeal against their old valuation if they disagree with it.”

Businesses that want to appeal against their business rates can visit their local valuation office or fill in a proposal form on the VOA website.

Businesses rates are based on the rateable value of the business’ premises, which is calculated according to market rents and by looking at factors such as the size of the premises, the number of rooms, how the premises are used and the property’s location. Firms can check on the VOA website to see what their rateable value is compared to other businesses in their area.

For more information about rateable values and how to make an appeal, visit the VOA website.

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