Coming into force on 1st April 2017, the rates revaluation is now nine months away. Assessors are nearing completion of their new assessments, which are due to be delivered to the Scottish Government in October. Despite that time-scale, ratepayers may not receive notification of their revised rates assessments until February/ March 2017, alongside their rates bills!
Following an extensive consultation process, the Scottish Government today announced their initial response to the long awaited review of business rates … to set up a group, chaired by Ken Barclay (former chair of RBS in Scotland), and have a further consultation process. Sir Humphrey would be proud.
The business rate for 2016 has been provisionally set at 48.4p, a 0.8% increase. This is in line with CPI and widely expected. What was not expected was the doubling of the large business supplement from 1.3p to 2.6p. This applies to all properties with a rateable value of over £35,000 and all affected properties will see a 3.4% increase in their business rates liability, more than four times the rate of inflation.
At the beginning of October, George Osborne announced an intention to return business rates in England to local control, meaning that uniform business rate could be replaced by locally set rates poundages, with councils keeping all rates income collected locally. There are calls from bodies such as COSLA, to replicate this move in Scotland.
There is a general rates revaluation every five years. The next revaluation was due in 2015 but was postponed until 2017. The valuation date for the 2017 revaluation is 1st April 2015. Accordingly Assessors are already collecting relevant rental and building construction cost information and preparing their valuation basis for 2017 rates assessments.