Business Rates Account Enquiries FAQ
The questions we are asked most often by our customers, and the answers are listed below. If you cannot find the answer you are looking for please check your guide to the Business Rates Service on the website. Alternatively you can e-mail your questions to us at email@example.com
What are Business Rates?
Business rates are a national tax charged upon all business properties.They are collected by local authorities and paid into a central pool controlled by central government. The income from the rates collected is redistributed to all charging authorities by central government in proportion to the number of Council Taxpayers in that area.
How is my business rates bill calculated?
The amount of rates that you pay is based on the Rateable Value of your property and the annual multiplier set by the Government. In some cases this is then adjusted by a Transitional Adjustment.
What is a transitional adjustment?
Where properties experience large changes in rateable value at the five-year revaluation, a transitional adjustment will apply. This is designed to cushion the impact of these large increases or decreases. This means that the change is phased in over the five-year period with the annual increase or decrease charges being limited to a fixed percentage.
Do I have to pay business rates when my property is empty?
From 1st April 2008 most property that has been empty for more than three months, or in the case of industrial property, for more than six months - will no longer receive relief from rates.
After this free period, rates are payable in full unless the unoccupied property rate has been reduced by Government by order.
For a full list of exemptions - see unoccupied property rating.
Do I have to pay my business rates bill when I have appealed?
Yes, rates are payable based on the Rateable Value that appears in the current valuation list. If you do not pay recovery action may be taken even though an appeal is outstanding. However, if your appeal is successful and you have paid too much in business rates, you can claim a refund.
Also, providing we have not had to take you to court to recover unpaid business rates, you will be entitled to interest on your overpayment.
My rateable value has gone down but why have my payments not reduced?
The bill is calculated by multiplying the rateable value of the property by the multiplier and then applying the transitional arrangement scheme.
This gives the rates payable for the year.
However, the transitional relief scheme also means that if you are successful in getting a reduction in your rateable value you may not see any change or certainly not the full effect of that change in your payments
What is the business rates multiplier?
The Government sets the multiplier, or poundage, from 1st April each year for the whole of England. The Government normally changes the multiplier to move in line with inflation. By law, the multiplier cannot go up by more than the rate of inflation, except in the year of a revaluation when it is set at a level which will keep the total amount raised in rates after the revaluation the same as before, plus inflation for that year. The multiplier used in calculating your liability is shown on the front of your bill.
What services do I receive for paying my Business Rates?
Your rates are not payment for any specific services e.g. refuse collection. The business rates collected by the Council are paid into a central pool controlled by central government and redistributed to billing authorities and major precepting authorities. The Council’s share of redistributed rate income, together with income from its council taxpayers, revenue support grant and certain other sums, is used to pay for the services provided by the Council.
Should I attend the Court if I have received a summons for unpaid business rates?
You do have the right to attend the court hearing. The Liability Order will be granted by the court if it is satisfied that the sum has been legally demanded. If you pay the amount shown on the Summons in full including costs before the hearing date, the proceedings will be stopped. Alternatively, if you cannot pay the amount demanded all at once, contact the Business Rates section immediately. Proceedings will continue but the Council would consider withholding the Liability Order providing that a satisfactory arrangement to pay is made.
Can I pay weekly or fortnightly?
Yes. You need to contact us to make an arrangement to pay weekly or fortnightly and we can arrange this for you.
Is there any relief for small businesses?
The Small Business Rate Relief Scheme was introduced by the Government on 1st April 2005.
Eligible businesses with rateable values below £5,000 will get 50% rate relief on their liability and have their rates bill calculated using the lower small business non-domestic rating multiplier. The relief will decrease on a sliding scale of 1% for every £100 of rateable value over £5,000 up to £9,999.
Eligible businesses with rateable values between £10,000 and £14,999 will have their liability calculated using the lower small business multiplier. See Small Business Rate Relief for further information.
Do I get a discount for paying by Direct Debit?
No. It is true that the Council saves money when customers pay by direct debit but this is taken into account when setting the Council Tax for each year. Direct debit is still the easiest way to pay and you can choose the most convenient of three dates i.e. 6th 15th or 27th in the month to make your payments
Do I have to make an appointment to come and see someone?
No. Our customer enquiry staff can deal with most enquiries, but if you believe you have a particularly complicated enquiry it is a good idea to ring first in case you need to see a specific person. We are open from 8.45am to 4.30pm.
How do I make a formal complaint?
We hope that you never need to make a formal complaint about our service. If you do have a complaint please contact us first and we will try our best to put things right. The Council has a complaints process, which you should use to make any formal complaint.