What are Business Rates?

What are Business Rates?

Business Rates is a local tax that is paid by the occupiers of all non-domestic properties.

Business Rates are charged on most business properties such as shops, offices, pubs, warehouses and factories. However, the property doesn't have to be used for a business - if it is used for purposes which are not domestic it is likely to be rateable.

Roles and responsibilities?

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) set the rateable value of all business premises by using property details such as rental information.

We use the rateable value and the business rate multipliers (set by central government) to calculate your bill.

What is the Rateable Value?

The rateable value is assessed by the VOA, which is an agency of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

A property's rateable value is an assessment of the annual rent the property would rent for if it were available to let on the open market at a fixed valuation date

  • Until 31 March 2017, the rateable values where based on a valuation date of 1 April 2008.
  • Until 31 March 2023, the rateable values where based on the valuation date of 1 April 2015.
  • From 1 April 2023, the rateable values will be based on the valuation date of 1 April 2021

If you think your rateable value is incorrect, you can find and view your property details on the Valuation Office Agency website.

What is a revaluation?

The VOA regularly reassess and updates the rateable value of all commercial properties usually every five years. This is called Revaluation and is done to maintain fairness in the system by redistributing the total amount payable, reflecting any changes in the property market. Revaluation does not raise extra revenue overall.

As of 1 April 2023 all business rates in England have been revalued. The result of this means that some businesses will pay more and some will pay less from 1 April. In order to limit and phase in changes in rates bills following a revaluation, the Government have introduced a Transitional relief scheme which limits how much business rates change following revaluation. Transition will be applied when the Rateable Value goes up. If the Rateable value goes up over a certain limit, transitional relief will be automatically applied and gradually phased out over 5 years. This scheme only applies to the property at the time of revaluation - any changes to the property after the 1 April 2023 will not normally be subject to transition.

You do not need to apply for Transition. Any adjustments are made automatically and are shown on the front of your bill. More information on revaluation can be found on Gov UK.

How can I find out more?

Gov UK has lots of information about:

  • Revaluation 2023
  • how rates are calculated 
  • estimating your bill
  • what to do if your business or premises changes

If you require professional help querying your rateable value, you could get help from a qualified rating surveyor through one of the following organisations:

  • Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors
  • Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation
  • Rating Surveyors Association
Support for small businesses

At the Autumn Statement 2022 the Chancellor announced that a new Supporting Small Business (SSB) relief scheme which will cap bill increases at £600 per year for any business losing eligibility for Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief at the 2023 revaluation.

The scheme also provides support for those previously eligible for the 2022/23 SSB scheme and facing large increases in 2023/24 but in those cases for one further year only.

Last updated 6 March 2024
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