Following a number of Government consultations, leading up to the 2023 Rating Revaluation, the Non-Domestic Rating Act 2023 finally became law last week, introducing some important changes to the Business Rates system –

The main changes, of note, are

  • Confirmation of 3 yearly Rates Revaluations.
  • Formalising the change of Transitional Relief, to not being ‘revenue neutral’. This has allowed for the abolition of downward phasing, enabling ratepayers to benefit fully from falls in Rateable Values.
  • Rates Relief for ‘eligible improvements’ to occupied properties, where the improvements increase the level of a Rating Assessment. The 12 month’s relief, comes into effect from 1st April 2024 and will apply to works completed up until 1st April 2028.
  • Duty to Notify – Ratepayers will have an annual duty to inform the Valuation Office that the information they hold is correct, which will be done through an online portal.  Ratepayers will also be required to register on the Government Gateway and notify the Valuation Office of any changes (within 60 days of the change) to their property, tenancy information or use of the property.
  • Access to Valuation Office data improved, with ratepayers having the ability to request information relevant to their Rating Assessments. However, the provision of this data is at the discretion of the VO.
  • Introduction of Completion Notices for Refurbished buildings. These fell into a loophole in the legislation, as court decisions had resulted in the VO being unable to bring back deleted Assessments, until they were occupied.
  • The rules as to what constitutes a ‘Material Change of Circumstances’ has been adjusted. This follows on from the change which made appeals on the ground of Covid being invalid.
  • Extension of Reliefs, making Rural Rate Relief mandatory on qualifying village shops, removing the retrospective bar on backdating discretionary relief and giving councils the ability to use their discretion in applying the large property supplement.

Maughan Mitchell comment –

Most of the changes are formalising those already made at the start of the 2023 Rating List and covered by the Government consultations over the last few years, so have been known about for some time.

Maughan Mitchell welcomes most of the changes, although would question the burden being placed on ratepayers, with the new duty to register and notify the authorities of relevant changes which may impact the Rating Assessment. Non-compliance or the provision of false information will result in significant penalties.  It will therefore become more important for ratepayers to partner with a Business Rates specialist, such as Maughan Mitchell to ensure these responsibilities are complied with on an ongoing basis.  This duty to notify is expected to come into force in 2024/25.

Maughan Mitchell, as a matter of course, keep up to date with changes in the Rating system, ensuring our clients remain well informed.

Do naturally feel free to contact us, if you have any questions as to how this new legislation impacts your business.

See the Non-Domestic Rating Act 2023 (html)