RATING SPECIALISTS WELCOME GOVERNMENT’S POSTPONEMENT OF THE 2021 BUSINESS RATES REVALUATION

Business Rates specialists at Harris Lamb have welcomed the Government’s announcement to postpone the 2021 revaluation, saying that it gives businesses and the Valuation Office time to assess the impact of Covid-19.

Legislation had been introduced to bring the next revaluation forward by one year from 2022 to 2021, but ministers wanted to ensure businesses had more certainty following the economic impact arising from the coronavirus pandemic, and today announced the postponement.

The business’ Rating team said that the decision came as no surprise and would give the Valuation Office time to complete outstanding appeals from the 2017 List, but that it was important that those businesses granted 100 per cent relief on their rates still sought guidance on their values and appealed the figures if necessary.

Andrew Hulbert, of Harris Lamb’s Birmingham office, said: “This is a sensible decision on the part of the Valuation Office. It gives ratepayers certainty and frees up resource within the VO to dedicate to concluding 2017 List appeals and invest into making its way through the Check Challenge Appeal applications it has been struggling to clear.

“It also gives the Rating system the time to fully understand the impact of Covid-19 on properties and the way they are valued.

“If the Government is going to stagger reopening businesses, that is going to affect rents and rates alike, and fundamentally it will have a huge impact on the system which would not be reflected accurately if it had completed the 2021 revaluation as planned.”

Victoria Trafford, of Harris Lamb’s Nottingham office, added: “Like all businesses, the Valuation Office is stretched and under extreme pressure, and while some ratepayers may think that the decision to postpone this is harsh, it is the only fair conclusion – going ahead as planned just isn’t possible.

“That said, while many businesses have been given 100 per cent relief and access to Government grants to help them weather the storm, there is still merit in challenging those Rateable Values assigned to them – just because a company has been given 100 per cent relief doesn’t mean that the figure was right in the first place.

“Businesses throughout the UK are now having to make a number of operational decisions ahead of being able to reopen, and seeking professional advice on Business Rates should be high up on the list when it comes to assessing the financial impact Covid-19 has had on their business and coming back from the pandemic.”

For support and advice, contact Harris Lamb’s Business rates team at andrew.hulbert@harrislamb.com and Victoria.trafford@harrislamb.com.