Earlier this month the Chancellor announced extensions of business rates reliefs and grants for businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors but there remains significant uncertainty for office-based businesses and other impacted sectors including car parks and manufacturers.
For a large proportion of the last twelve months the government advice has been to work from home, leaving offices unoccupied. Despite this, no business rates relief has been confirmed and the number of businesses contesting their rating assessments via material change of circumstance (MCC) has reached an all time high of over 400,000.
The Rating Surveyors Association (RSA) were involved in discussions with the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) about suitable resolutions but these discussions came to an abrupt end before Christmas, leading to hundreds of thousands of businesses unsure of their financial liability.
Partner in our rating team, Rob Cohen commented, “We are currently working with a number of universities, car parks, motor trade and office-based businesses to try and progress matters with the VOA and provide clarity surrounding their position. The financial pressures created by the Covid-19 pandemic have been devastating for many businesses and the added pressure caused by business rates uncertainty is hindering them in forward planning.
“Aside from this, halting talks will only lead to further Challenges being raised, which will inevitably put further strain on a system that is already over capacity and will only lead to unnecessary time and expense.
“Today, on ‘Tax Day 2021’ when HM Treasury are unveiling a number of documents and consultations on future tax policies, we are joining the RSA in asking you to also raise this issue with your local MP’s, the Chief Executive of the VOA and the Chancellor himself. It is in no-one’s interest for there to be a delayed resolution to this issue as it is negatively impacting hundreds of thousands of businesses and unnecessarily putting many employees’ jobs at risk.”