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Your Business Rates Questions Answered

1. What are Business Rates?
Every commercial business occupier must pay Business Rates. Rates are a substantial annual business cost, generally equating to between 40 - 50% of the property's rental value. Your annual rates bill is calculated by multiplying the rate poundage as set by the government, by the Rateable Value. The Valuation Office assesses your Rateable Value every five years with a valuation date two years before. Under the present system, there have been revaluations in 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2005 with the new rating list coming into force on 1 April 2010 with a valuation date of April 2008.

2. What is Transitional Relief?
Transitional relief is a system implemented by the government primarily to limit any year on year increase in rates liability. As a property's Rateable Value can alter greatly between rating lists the government took steps to ensure that any increases are phased in over a period of time. However, in order to finance this "give away", the government also placed a limit on the maximum year on year decrease in the event that a rateable value falls from one list to the next.

3. How can HB Property Group (T/A Rating 2000) help your company?
Every occupier has the right to appeal their Rateable Value and Rating 2000 is one of the few companies specialising in this area. We will issue an appeal on your behalf, carry out a full survey and negotiate with the Valuation Office. We have been successful in achieving rateable value reductions on many properties which at first glance appeared to be correctly assessed and, where appropriate, would be pleased to challenge your own assessment without taking up much of your own time.

4. How long does the appeal process take?
The actual analysis of your assessment and the decision of whether to appeal will only take several days. Once we have decided to proceed with an appeal we must wait for the appeal to be placed in a programme for discussion with the Valuation Office. This can take as long as two to three years, especially at the beginning of a new list but this delay does allow time for more relevant rental evidence to come to light. However, any reduction which is eventually achieved will be backdated to the beginning of the rating list, with refunds (and interest where appropriate) issued accordingly.

5. Will the Valuation Tribunal actually hear the appeal?
Occasionally we are unable to reach a negotiated settlement with the Valuation Office and must seek recourse to the Valuation Tribunal. This is an independent body which was set up to hear submissions from the two parties and to issue a decision which is generally accepted by both parties. A Tribunal date is usually set for approximately two months after the end of the negotiating period and allows time for both parties to prepare their submissions.

6. Are there any other ways to achieve reductions in our rates?
There are other ways to achieve Rateable Value reductions and we would advise you to read through the page "How to achieve further rates savings" for details.