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Get up to speed on business rates reform in England and Wales

FSB has produced a short guide for members in England and Wales on the business rates system, including the recent revaluation.

“Over the past two years, the government has announced a raft of alterations to the system in England that will see changes to the way the appeals system works, how business rate relief is calculated, and new links to local government, through the devolution agenda,” said Martin McTague, Policy Director at FSB.

Members in England and Wales who registered their email address with the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) should recently have received an email advising them of their new business rates valuation.

The revaluations usually take place every five years. Those who have not done so can find out their valuation at the VOA’s website.

The new rates are scheduled to come into effect on 1 April 2017 and will be based on hypothetical rental values as at 1 April 2015. The guide does not focus on Scottish firms, which face their own revaluation next year.

“FSB members in Scotland should look out for correspondence from their local assessor,” said Andy Willox, FSB Scottish Policy Convenor.

“An independent review of the business rates system north of the border is under way, with FSB pressing for the retention of the Small Business Bonus scheme, alongside other measures to boost smaller firms.”

The system in Northern Ireland is also likely to be reviewed in 2017.

Earlier this year, FSB lobbying helped to secure changes to the business rates system in the Budget, which will see 600,000 businesses in England not paying any business rates at all and another 250,000 seeing significant reductions.

The Business Rates and the 2017 Revaluation guide can be found at bit.ly/2dqkpd1