The Mazars Effect? This is a recent English appeal court decision which involved a firm, Mazars, who occupied the 2nd and 6th floors in the office block. They were seeking a combined, single, entry to benefit from an increased size allowance for the larger rates entry.
The court took a very strict view of rating case law and legislation and held that where property is separated by common parts (in an office this would include (e.g.) common lobbies, lifts, stairs) that they should be separate entries. The court went even further and suggested that adjacent floors in multi let offices should still be separate entries.
The issue that the case throws up is how Assessors may deal with similar properties at the 2017 Revaluation. Up to now, the Assessor has always made single rates entries for adjacent floors in office blocks but this may now change, with a resultant increase in rates liability. This may not just affect offices but also industrial property where adjacent units in a terrace are occupied.
2017 Rating Consultation
The Scottish Government is currently undertaking a review of the rates system. Under this review potential areas of change could include;
- charging for lodging of rates appeals
- powers for Assessors to request rent and cost information from people other than the immediate occupier/ tenant or landlord. This could, e.g., include a right to request information from solicitors and property agents.
- changing the frequency of rates revaluations from 5 years to 3 years
Some of the proposals do, in our opinion, create a risk for ratepayers and potentially increased cost (i.e. charging for challenging your rates assessment). WYM Real Estate, as part of the Scottish Business Ratepayers Group, submitted a response to the consultation. Should you wish further information on the consultation or to discuss the risk to your business then please contact Billy McKaig.
1st April 2015 – Valuation Date for 2017 Rating Revaluation
Summer 2015 – Summer 2016 – Assessors ingathering rental information and formulating schemes of valuation
Autumn 2016 – Issue of draft rateable values to Scottish Government
Autumn 2016 – publication of draft rateable values on SAA website??
February 2017 – confirmation of rateable values, business rate poundage and relevant relief schemes (including transitional relief)
1st April 2017 – 2017 – Rating Revaluation Comes into force
30th September 2017 – Deadline for lodging of appeals for 2017 Rating Revaluation (deadline may be subject to review)
We welcome the opportunity to mitigate your rates liability. For further information, or simply to discuss the above in greater detail please contact:
t: 0131 225 2583
m: 07778 149 224
The Merchants’ Hall
22 Hanover Street
Edinburgh EH2 2EP