Rising business rates have been taking over the headlines again as a number of employer groups have condemned the proposed changes to business rates in England as ‘outrageous’.

Amongst those opposing the changes are the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), British Retail Consortium and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). The FSB warned that as a result of the business rate hike, the London area is in “serious danger of losing its vital support system of micro and small businesses.”

The new business rate revaluations will come into effect from 1st April with many small businesses facing uncertainty about how they will be able to cope. The Government has been working to allay fears, saying that most firms will pay the same business rates as before and perhaps even less. However, some 500,000 businesses or more will see their rates increase with the worse affected facing rises of up to 400%.

What are Business Rates?

Business rates are the commercial equivalent of Council Tax for homeowners. They are paid based on the annual market rent value of the space that a business occupies. This is worked out by the Valuation Office Agency which uses rent figures in the local area to determine an average. So, the cost of business rates varies greatly from business to business, depending on the size of the property, the location and what it’s used for.

Do all organisations have to pay Business Rates?

Not all businesses are required to pay business rates. If your business does not operate from a commercial property, say, you work from home, then usually you will not be required to pay business rates. There are also some instances where non-residential property owners are not required to pay business rates. These include places of religious worship, business premises occupied by charities, owners of farm buildings and land, fish farms and buildings used for training and support of disabled people.

Business Rates Relief 

If your business only uses one property and this property’s rateable value is less than £12,000, then you are eligible to apply for small business rates relief with your local council.

If your company is based at The Workstation and this is your only premises (as is the case for many of our businesses) it’s likely that you will qualify for business rates relief from your local council. What’s more, quite a few of our smaller office suites qualify for 100% business rate relief and we try to make life as easy as possible for all our tenants so all interactions with the local council in regard to this are managed by us. For more information about small business rate relief, visit the GOV.UK website.

If you’d also like to find out other benefits to renting an office in one of our shared business centres in Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, please contact 01727 260 177 or email info@theworkstation.co.uk.