Business Rates Review


England

The government is conducting a wide-ranging review of business rates in response to concerns from many business ratepayers that business rates are in need of reform to make them fit for purpose in a 21st century economy. In the 2016 Budget the government announced it will also modernise the administration of business rates to revalue properties more frequently and make it easier for businesses to pay the taxes that are due by:

1. Aiming to introduce more frequent business rate revaluations (at least every 3 years) and it published a discussion paper in March 2016 outlining options on how to achieve this to support both businesses and the stability of local authority funding.

2. Transforming business rates billing and collection. By 2022, local authority business rate systems will be linked to HMRC digital tax accounts so that businesses can manage their rates bills in one place alongside other taxes. As a first step, the government will work with local authorities across England to standardise business rate bills and ensure ratepayers have the option to receive and pay bills online by April 2017.

3. Once local authority and HMRC systems are linked, the government will consider the feasibility of replacing SBRR with a business rates allowance for small businesses – this would be applied to a business’s total property portfolio across local authority areas allowing businesses that grow and acquire more property to benefit from relief.

Scotland

The Scottish Government has appointed former chair of RBS Scotland, Ken Barclay to lead a review into business rates north of the border after George Osborne revealed a major reform of the system in England and Wales in the 2016 Budget. Mr Barclay is to consider how business rates might better support business growth, respond to wider economic conditions and changing marketplaces and support long-term growth and investment.