Business rates revaluation support scheme
The purpose of the policy is to ensure that a consistent approach is taken when applications for Business Rates Revaluation Support are received.
Following the 2017 revaluation the Government provided funding for Local Authorities to award relief to ratepayers facing the steepest increase in their business rates bills. Funding was provided for a 4 year period, decreasing year on year.
This policy sets out the factors that may be taken into account when applications for revaluation support are considered, in line with Government guidance.
The policy applies to all ratepayers who wish to apply for revaluation support.
1.1 Following the Business Rate revaluation which took effect from April 2017, the Government awarded local authorities a total of up to £300m over a period of 4 years to support those businesses that faced the steepest increases in their business rates bills as a result of the revaluation. Councils are reimbursed by a Section 31 grant payment.
1.2 The funding was not provided equally but in the following approximate proportions
- Year 1 (2017 to 2018) 58%
- Year 2 (2018 to 2019) 28%
- Year 3 (2019 to 2020) 12%
- Year 4 (2020 to 2021) 2%
|District||2017 to 2018||2018 to 2019||2019 to 2020||2020 to 2021|
1.3 In year 1, the districts identified those businesses which met the criteria and automatically awarded relief. In general, year 2 relief represented a percentage of year 1 relief. As the funding reduced in year 3 awards were then made on an individual case by case basis.
2.1 It is proposed that due to the even lower level of funding available in year 4 (2% of the total package) awards continue to be made on an individual case by case basis provided that the applicant meets the originally agree criteria as follows:
2.2 The scheme is designed solely to assist ratepayers who suffered significant increases in rate liability due to the revaluation and the subsequent increase to their Rateable Value.
2.3 Relief will not be awarded where mandatory relief is granted and in line with legislative requirements, no relief can be granted to any precepting authority (excepted hereditaments);2.4
2.4 In assessing any potential entitlement to an award under this scheme, the Council will compare the following;
a) The rate liability of the ratepayer at 31st March 2017 for the 2016/17 financial year after any reliefs and reductions; and
b) The rate liability of the ratepayer at 1st April 2017 for the 2017/18 financial year taking into account any transitional relief or discretionary relief granted under any other provision;
2.5 Relief will be awarded where the calculation in c. gives rise to an increase in rates payable and where the hereditament has a rateable value at 1st April 2017 of less than £200,000
2.6 Relief will only be given to premises which are liable for occupied rates. No relief within this scheme will be granted for unoccupied premises or where the premises become re-occupied;
2.7 Relief will only be granted to ratepayers who were in occupation at 31st March 2017 and in occupation on 1st April 2017. Relief will cease at any point the hereditament becomes unoccupied and will not be re-granted;
2.8 Ratepayers (including previous ratepayers) taking up occupation after 1st April 2017 will not be eligible for relief on the basis that new ratepayers would not have suffered from increases due to a revaluation;
2.9 Relief will be targeted to local businesses and not those businesses that are national or multi-national in nature. Local businesses are, for the purposes of this scheme, those which have premises wholly in the Council’s area;
2.10 Relief will not be awarded where the ratepayer occupies more than two hereditaments;
2.11 Further relief will not be awarded where the hereditament has an increase in Rateable Value after 1st April 2017 which increases the rate charge above the 1st April 2017 value;
2.12 Relief shall not be awarded where the hereditaments are used (either partly or fully) for any of the following:
- Where occupied by a Government Department or agency of a Government Department including the Ministry of Defence; or
- Where occupied by any utility Company providing any of the following services;
- Telephone or Telephonic Communications;
- Television (including Satellite or Cable);
- Broadband; or
- Water or Sewerage services
- Where occupied by any financial institution including (but not limited to) Banks, Building societies, ATMs and Cash points; or
- Where occupied by any pay day lender, cheque cashing, pawn brokers or business of a similar nature; or
- Where occupied by any business promoting or undertaking gambling, betting or similar (excluding the sale of National Lottery or Local Lottery tickets at the discretion of the Council); or
- Where occupied by any business or ratepayer as a sex shop, sex cinema, and sexual entertainment venue (this would include, but not limited to, premises that require a license under schedule 3 to the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 (as amended by section 27 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009); or
- Where occupied by any educational establishments including prescribed educational establishments as defined by the Council Tax (Discount Disregards) Order 1992 as amended.
2.13 In exceptional circumstances, the authority shall consider applications on a case by case basis where the ratepayer falls outside of the criteria detailed in paragraph 4 above but where the ratepayer can demonstrate that they are experiencing severe financial difficulties due to the revaluation on 1 April 2017
3.1 Awards will be considered by an officer within the service having regard for grants made to the 4 predecessor authorities.
3.2 It should be noted that, whilst the funding from Central Government for Discretionary Business Rate Relief Scheme is limited, the decision of the Council whether to award any relief under this scheme cannot take account of the level of any funding
4.1 Where the Council receives an appeal from the ratepayer regarding the granting, non-granting or the amount of any discretionary relief, the case will be reviewed by an independent manager within the service with, in exceptional case, the Portfolio holder for Finance. Where a decision is revised then the ratepayer shall be informed, likewise if the original decision is upheld.
4.2 Ultimately the formal appeal process for the ratepayer is Judicial Review although the Council will endeavour to explain any decision fully and openly with the ratepayer.