Apart from properties that are exempt from business rates, each non-domestic property has a rateable value which is normally set by the valuation officers of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an agency of HM Revenue and Customs. It draws up and maintains a full list of all rateable values. The rateable value of your property will be shown on the front of your bill. The rateable value broadly represents the yearly rent the property could have been let for on the open market on a particular date. For the revaluation that came into effect on 1 April 2023, this date was set as 1 April 2021.
The Valuation Officer has to maintain the list and may alter the value if he or she believes that the circumstances of the property have changed. The ratepayer (and certain others who have an interest in the property) can also challenge the value shown in the list if they believe it is wrong. Further information on the grounds for checking and challenging your Rateable Value can be found on the www.gov.uk/government/collections/check-and-challenge-step-by-step. For any challenges against the 2017 list please be aware the closing date for any submissions is 31 March 2023.
A billing authority is statutorily obliged to calculate the liability for rates and issue bills based upon the entries in the local rating list as supplied by the VOA. There are no provisions within the Local Government Finance Act 1988 to withhold payment pending a challenge.
What if my property is in poor condition or under repair or renovation?
If your property is in poor condition and cannot be economically repaired, the valuation officer may judge that it should be taken out of the rating list altogether. If you are currently undertaking substantial refurbishment or reconstruction of the premises the valuation officer may consider a temporary reduction in the rateable value of your property.
Decisions on such matters cannot be made by the council and you should contact the Valuation Officer promptly and directly with queries of this nature. The valuation officer is an officer of HM Revenues and Customs and can be contacted at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/valuation-office-agency
However you should be aware that empty rates will be payable if the property is shown on the Rating List, irrespective of its condition.
Ratepayers do not have to be represented in discussions about their rateable value or their rates bill. Challenges against rateable values can be made free of charge. However, ratepayers who do wish to be represented should be aware that members of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and 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 adviser, you should check that they have the necessary knowledge and expertise, as well as appropriate indemnity insurance. Take great care and, if necessary, seek further advice before entering into any contract.
Historically, every five years the VOA gives all non-domestic properties new rateable values in order for local authorities to calculate the business rate. From 1 April 2023 this has changed to three-yearly intervals.
The new rateable values will reflect the yearly open-market rental value of each property.
The next revaluation will take place in 2026 and the VOA will contact you in due course regarding this. If you receive a request for rent, lease and ownership details from the VOA you should go online and complete the form. Providing your rental information ensures the business rates you pay are accurate.
The purpose of the revaluation is not to change the amount of money collected in rates, but to ensure that the individual rateable values reflect the changes that have taken place in the property market since the last revaluation.
Last updated: 15 March 2023