Rate relief can help small firms

Chrissie Duxson
Chrissie Duxson
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Chrissie Duxson of the Federation of Small Businesses on the minefield of business rates and how small businesses might benefit from rate relief:

Business rates, also known as National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR), are the third-biggest expense for many small firms after rent and wages; but the tax is not related to the ability to pay, so it places a disproportionate burden on a business.

Every five years the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) conducts a revaluation exercise to determine the rateable value (RV) of all public and private non-domestic properties. However, the planned 2015 revaluation has been postponed until 2017.

This will be bad news for many Leamington and Warwick firms who may be paying a higher rates bill than necessary, so it is therefore even more important that small firms are aware of the reliefs that they might be entitled to. Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) has been available since 2005, and is an outstanding example of one of the FSB’s most successful campaigns. Until March 31 2015, businesses can get 100 per cent relief – doubled from the usual rate of 50 per cent – for properties with a rateable value of £6,000 or less. This means businesses eligible for SBRR won’t pay business rates on properties with a rateable value of £6,000 or less. The rate of relief will gradually decrease from 100 per cent to 0 per cent for properties with a rateable value between £6,001 and £12,000.

The SBRR grant can be automatic, without eligible businesses having to apply formally, however as this will not always be the case it is worth checking that the discount has been applied.

As well as SBRR, there are also a number of other reliefs and assistance available to firms, including discretionary, hardship, rural, transitional and empty property relief. Businesses based in the district can contact the council on nndr@warwickdc.gov.uk or 01926 353363to find out more about SBRR and the other reliefs.