SCOTTISH retailers could have their rates bill cut for the next five years, but only if they act soon, commercial property firm Shepherd Chartered Surveyors has suggested.
The firm is urging retailers to “seriously consider” appealing their new rateable value, which can be viewed on the Scottish Assessors Association website. All appeals must be lodged before 30 September this year.
From 1 April these new rateable values – the figure on which non-domestic rates are based – will come into force, leaving some operators with substantial increases which are scheduled to last until 2022.
The change in rateable value coincides with an increase in the Large Business Supplement, which will see businesses with a rateable value of £51,000 or more paying an additional 2.6p in the pound, up from 1.3p at present.
Revenue generated by the supplement is used to fund the Small Business Bonus Scheme (SBBS) which has been expanded to provide businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or less with 100% rates relief, up from the previous cut-off of £10,000.
Steve Barnett, managing partner at Shepherd Chartered Surveyors, said the forthcoming changes to business rates are “understandably causing a furore”, adding that his firm is “already busy fielding calls from very worried ratepayers”.
Barnett, who previously worked within the Assessors department before joining Shepherd Chartered Surveyors, said there are “winners and losers” at every revaluation, but suggested all business owners should consider appealing their new rateable value.
“Whatever the circumstances, every landlord or occupier has a right to appeal their rateable value, and this is something I would urge them to seriously consider whatever is happening to their rateable value – even if it’s going down,” he said.
“The rateable value of a property is only part of the rates bill calculation, but it is the part that everything else flows from. It is the only part that can be challenged, so it is the only part that the ratepayer can hope to influence.
The rateable value of a property is only part of the rates bill, but it is the part that everything else flows from.
“The appeal process is there for a reason and it tends to work well.”
Barnett added that while there are relief schemes available for some ratepayers, “it is worth bearing in mind that every £1,000 reduction in rateable value that is secured at appeal results in the ratepayer saving around £2,500 on their rates bill over a five-year rating cycle”.