We at MM would tend to agree with this Times article – the last review of the business rates system resulted in very little change to the system or the burden of business rates, so it is extremely hard to see how a further review is going to do anything other than waste time and taxpayers money.
A further review is not needed in our view, but change is – and it is obvious to all involved in business rates that the current system is not fit for purpose, with the appeals system being completely unfair, weighted hugely in the authorities favour with a high level of knowledge, perseverance and luck being needed to successfully appeal, sometimes even where assessments are clearly wrong.
Further, the basis of the tax itself has been completely overtaken by changes in the way business is now done, with an unfair burden placed on business who require more physical space to operate over those who can operate more online.
A review is not needed, but a change is – to address the shear level of rates, the unfairness of the appeal system and the imbalance between those business requiring a large amount of physical space compared to those who are more online based.
Business Rates has never been a huge factor in winning votes, but at least it has become something being talked about now. It will however be interesting to see if the talk turns into any actual change – we at MM have been around long enough to be somewhat sceptical about this.
Read the Times article here: