Estate Agents Welcome Reforms To Business Rates

A new Non-Domestic Rating Bill introduced this week to incentivise property improvements and support more frequent revaluations to deliver reforms in the commercial sector has been welcomed by Propertymark.

The measures being put forward in England will review and reform business rates, making them ‘fairer and more responsive’ to changes in the market.

Instead of the current five years, frequent valuations will occur every three years, meaning those with falling values will see bills drop sooner.

Businesses making qualifying building improvements will not face higher business rates bills for 12 months, which will make it easier for investment as the new reliefs for property improvements provide tax breaks for those extending or upgrading a property.

Valuation Office Agency

The Bill, which was introduced in Parliament on 29 March 2023, and will be debated in due course, is a result of the Business Rates Review announced in the Autumn 2021 Budget and Spending Review, following a consultation which ran from July 2020 to October 2021.

A summary of the responses and Non-Domestic Rating Information and Impact Note (NDRIIN) details the current estimated impact of the Valuation Office Agency’s (VOA), which is essential to support the key reform of more frequent revaluations.

Currently, ratepayers are not obliged to notify the VOA of changes proactively but are required to respond to requests for information. Under the new system, ratepayers will, as is the case for other taxes, be expected to find out what their obligations are and proactively comply, using an online service. Ratepayers will need to notify the VOA within 60 days of changes to occupier and property characteristics that are relevant for valuations.

Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark, commented: “We are pleased to see that reforms are being made to the business rates system as more revaluations will ensure that rates are kept fair and accurate. However, a more frequent, annual revaluation such as that being used in the Netherlands in their national and collaborative model, where ratepayers and taxpayers are seen as part of the process would even further reduce administration and generate a Government saving of an estimated £56 million a year.

“As part of Propertymark’s wider lobbying and stakeholder work, we have been encouraging member agents to submit their data to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). Therefore, it is also positive to see that, as part of a wider package of measures to support more frequent revaluations, ratepayers will be obliged to proactively notify the VOA of changes to occupier and property characteristics to make valuations even more accurate.”

The full impact note can be read here

New bill introduced to incentivise property improvements

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