HMT have published their final report on the March 2020 'Business Rates Review Call for Evidence' which launched a fundamental review of business rates, aiming to reduce the burden on business and improve the business rates system.

The final report follows an Interim report released in March 2021 and proposed changes announced at the Autumn Budget 2021 (see below).

Respondents to the call for evidence felt that:

  • Parts of the proposed package of new measures were acceptable whilst others were mixed/negative. Rating agents being the most negative.
    • Simplification of the appeal process was welcomed.
    • Some felt the level of business rates was too high.
    • Many were interested in the concept of an Online Sales Tax, which would be used to reduce business rates for retailers with properties in England and thought this should be explored further. 
  • A reliable, user-friendly and fit for purpose online portal will be important to support ratepayers with the proposed new duties; Duty to Notify and Mandation of Information. These changes which are subject to further consultation will require ratepayers to notify changes to the occupier or physical property characteristics and provide rent and lease information to the Valuation office.
  • Greater transparency was supported but not if fees would be charged for this.
  • In moving to a three-year revaluation cycle, which the majority of respondents supported and agreed should be a priority, there is a need for engagement on implementation, clarity on proposed changes, and more detail setting out timings for implementation.

Many of the measures proposed by the Call for evidence were covered by proposals announced at Autumn Budget 2021. These include:

  • Three yearly revaluations. From April 2023 the revaluation will adjust rateable values based on April 2021 property values.
  • Freezing the multiplier for 2022-23.
  • New reliefs and measures to support investment in property improvements and green investment to include:
    • A temporary 100% improvement relief where eligible improvements increase the rateable value.
    • Exemptions for plant and machinery used in onsite renewable energy generation and storage, such as rooftop solar panels and electric vehicle charging points.
  • A 50% discount for 2022-23 for the hospitality and leisure sector, capped at £110,000 per business.
  • Consultation on a new Online Sales Tax (OST), more details are awaited on OST. 

Proposals in the report which are not covered by the budget include digitising business rates, check, challenge and appeal changes and measures to deal with avoidance and evasion when using reliefs, all of which are scheduled for rollout by 2026-27 onwards.

Useful guides on this topic

Autumn Budget 2021: At a glance
A summary of key budget announcements together with items published without announcement.

Finance Act 2021: rolling tax planner and tax update
Track previous tax announcements made in the 2021-22 tax year.

External link

Business Rates Review: final report

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