A new Non-Domestic Rating Bill has been introduced in Parliament to incentivise property improvements and support more frequent revaluations to deliver reforms in the commercial sector.
The Bill, which was introduced in Parliament on 29 March 2023, and will be debated in due course, is a result of the Business Rates Review announced in the Autumn 2021 Budget and Spending Review, following a consultation which ran from July 2020 to October 2021.
The measures being put forward in England will review and reform business rates, making them fairer and more responsive to changes in the market. Instead of the current five years, frequent valuations will occur every three years, meaning those with falling values will see bills drop sooner.
Businesses making qualifying building improvements will not face higher business rates bills for 12 months, which will make it easier for investment as the new reliefs for property improvements provide tax breaks for those extending or upgrading a property.
General description of the measure
As part of a wider package of measures to support more frequent revaluations, which are a common and key stakeholder priority, a new duty on ratepayers to proactively provide information to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) will be introduced. Currently, ratepayers are not obliged to proactively notify the VOA of changes but are required to respond to requests for information.
Under the new system, ratepayers will, as is the case for other taxes, be expected to find out what their obligations are and proactively comply, using an online service. Ratepayers will need to notify the VOA within 60 days of changes to occupier and property characteristics that are relevant for valuations.
For annual confirmation, where ratepayers will be required to confirm they have provided information which is required of them during the previous year, and where trade and accounts or costs basis information is relevant to the valuation so is required, this will need to occur within 60 days of 30 April each year.
In many instances, existing obligations will be replaced by the new duty. This means that for some ratepayers, the new duty may reduce the occasions where they are required to provide information, as information will now only need to be provided following a change, rather than by request.