Business Rates Explained
National Non-Domestic Rates, or business rates are a statutory tax levied by central government on those responsible for commercial property. National Non-Domestic Rates are also referred to as Business Rates and is the equivalent of Council Tax for non-domestic properties.
Business rates collected by local authorities are the way that those who occupy non-domestic property contribute towards the cost of local services. Under the business rates retention arrangements introduced from 1st April 2013, authorities keep a proportion of the business rates paid locally. The money, together with revenue from council taxpayers, locally generated income and grants from central government, is used to pay for the services provided by local authorities in your area.
Further information about the business rates system, may be obtained at: www.gov.uk/introduction-to-business-rates
Business Rates are a national tax set by Central Government and therefore Councils’ are unable to alter the amount of rates due.
If you believe your Business Rate charges are too high or there has been a change in material circumstances, then you can appeal to the Valuation Office for reassessment.
If you are appealing, please note that the Government Regulations require you to pay the rates based on the current rateable value until the appeal has been concluded.
If you are successful in your appeal and the rateable value is reduced, then any overpayment of rates made will be refunded to you. Provided payments have been made on time, interest is awarded at a rate specified by the Government annually.
Check, Challenge and Appeal
In 2017 a new business rates appeal process came into effect in England and Wales known as Check, Challenge, Appeal. The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) deals with checks and challenges, while the independent Valuation Tribunal for England handles appeals.
Check and Challenge
You can review your rateable value on the GOV.UK website, and if you have reason to believe that your 2017 rateable value is not correct, details on how to check and challenge can be found on their website.
- Check – review and confirm the facts about your property held by the VOA
- Challenge – once the facts are established, explain why you believe your valuation is wrong
To appeal your business rates you will need to complete the Check and Check and Challenge process.
If you wish to be represented
Members of the Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation are qualified and are regulated by rules of professional conduct designed to protect the public from misconduct.
Before you employ a rating agent, check that they have the necessary knowledge and expertise and the appropriate indemnity insurance. If necessary, seek further advice before entering into a contract.
The Valuation Office Agency gives advice on rating agents
When to Pay
- For a full financial year by 10 monthly instalments due by 15th day of each month from April to January inclusive.
- For a full financial year by 12 monthly instalments by 15th day of each month from April to March inclusive. You will have to make your request in writing to the Council in order to do this.
- Bills issued after 1st April will have their monthly instalments calculated by the number of months left in the financial year less one.
- By a single payment by the 15th April.
- Twice yearly with a sum equal to five monthly instalments by the 15th April with the balance by 15th September.
There are a number of different methods of payment available for you to choose from and where possible we would prefer you to use one of the electronic methods.
How Do I Pay Online?
You can pay your Non-domestic (Business) Rates by debit or credit card using our online payment system;
Can I set up a direct debit?
Yes you can set-up a Direct Debit by using our Direct Debit form
If you are having problems paying your Business Rates then please Contact us immediately.
What are the steps taken if I do not pay?
If a Business Rates instalment is not paid then the following steps will be taken by the Council.
- Reminder – Reminder letter sent
- Final Notice issued – You may receive this notice under certain circumstances but not always. This notice stops your right to pay by instalments and requests that the full balance remaining on the account is paid within 7 days.
- Court Summons – If payment is not received following the Reminder and/or Final Notice then a summons will be issued and the person liable will have to appear at a designated Magistrates Court. Further cost will be incurred due to the court costs. There is no need to attend court if you accept that the Business Rates is due.
- Further Steps – At the court hearing the Council will ask for the Magistrates to issue a liability order. This will enable the Council to take further steps to recover outstanding Council Tax. See how the Council recovers unpaid Business Rates in the section below.
How the Council recovers unpaid Business Rates
The council may take the following methods when recovering Business Rates
The debt is paid off in a number of instalments
We may refer your debt to our in-house Enforcement Agents for collection. We may on occasion use external Enforcement Agents.
This will mean you will have to pay Enforcement Agent fees.
Any payment or arrangements for payment will have to be made directly with them. They have the power to remove your goods if they don’t get payment in full or a suitable payment arrangement.
Bankruptcy or Winding up proceedings
The Council can commence bankruptcy or winding up proceedings against you.
The Council can take the debtor back to court and if proven that the debtor has shown ‘wilful refusal’ or ‘culpable neglect’ to pay their Council Tax they may be imprisoned.
If you receive a committal warning you must contact us to arrange to clear the debt.
If committal action is taken you have to appear before the Court to answer why you shouldn’t be sent to prison for non-payment.
If your business is moving in or out of the district, you can tell us here;
- Tell Business Rates that you’re Moving into Wealden – if you are moving from outside the Wealden District into a property within the District
- Tell Business Rates that you’re Moving within Wealden – if your move is from one property to another within the District
- Tell Business Rates that you’re Moving out of Wealden – if you are moving to a property out of Wealden.
Property Relief (s44A)A ratepayer is liable for the full non-domestic rate whether a property is wholly occupied or only partly occupied. Where a property is partly occupied for a short time, the local authority has discretion in certain cases to award relief in respect of the unoccupied part. For further details see the Part Occupation guidelines .
Apply for Partly Occupied Property ReliefIf you would like more information about Partly Occupied Relief or any other reduction please contact us using our online contact us form
Payment of business rate bills is automatically set on a 10-monthly cycle. However, the Government has put in place regulations that allow ratepayers to pay their business rates through 12 monthly instalments. If you wish to take up this offer, you should contact us as soon as possible.
We work out the business rates bill for a property by multiplying the rateable value of the property by the appropriate non-domestic multiplier.
There are two multipliers: the national non-domestic rating multiplier and the small business non-domestic rating multiplier. The Government sets the multipliers for each financial year, except in the City of London where special arrangements apply.
Ratepayers who occupy a property with a rateable value which does not exceed £50,999 (and who are not entitled to certain other mandatory relief[s] or are liable for unoccupied property rates) will have their bills calculated using the lower small business non-domestic rating multiplier, rather than the national non-domestic rating multiplier.
The multiplier for a financial year is based on the previous year’s multiplier adjusted to reflect the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation figure for the September prior to the billing year. The current multipliers are shown on the front of your bill.
Small Business Multiplier
Apart from properties that are exempt from business rates, each non-domestic property has a rateable value which is set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an agency of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. They compile and maintain a full list of all rateable values, available at www.gov.uk/voa.
The rateable value of your property is shown on the front of your bill. This broadly represents the yearly rent the property could have been let for on the open market on a particular date specified in legislation. For the current rating list, this date was set as 1st April 2015.
The Valuation Office Agency may alter the valuation if circumstances change. The ratepayer (and certain others who have an interest in the property) can also check and challenge the valuation shown in the list if they believe it is wrong.
Further information about the grounds on which challenges may be made and the process for doing so can be found on the VOA website: www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-check-your-rateable-value-is-correct.