With effect from 1st November 2015, the tax payable on insurance premiums is increasing from 6% to 9.5%. This marks an increase of more than 50% and a step towards the prospect of much higher rates, consistent with those charged to our European neighbours.
Commentators within the insurance industry have shown concern about the rise in taxation and possible changes in the insurance market.
Where landlords have chosen to operate their Option to Tax, the government will be charging 20% VAT on top of the 9.5% insurance premium tax. Businesses in the finance sector and charities cannot generally recover VAT and effectively suffer a tax on tax. Insurers, banks and brokers may not find much sympathy, but charities will particularly suffer with a total Tax in excess of 30%. Charities currently receive 80% relief in their Business Rates charge. Some more of this benefit will now be paid back.
Day and Bell will continue to monitor the impact on these changes, especially the potential impact on charity shops and financial sector tenants in our portfolio.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has introduced new rules for Local Authorities to retain 100% of their Business Rates revenue.
Councils will certainly be keen to retain employment space if rates could be lost to residential development.

On the other hand partnerships may succeed where a Council supports commercial development and reaps the rewards of further rating income. This would need to be new space, because Councils already receive full empty rates payments from Landlords.

George Osborne’s shake up also permits Councils to reduce their multipliers on rateable value. A standard multiplier (currently 49.3p) was introduced more than 20 years ago and the change back to variable multipliers may produce interesting results. Pressure against loss of employment will be even greater, if Authorities wish to reduce rates bills while maintaining Income streams.

In times of austerity the recent free for all with office conversions will come to an abrupt end – but will this produce further pressures on green belt and Open Space? Could disparities in rating levels produce varying demand between competing Boroughs? It will be interesting to see….

Day and Bell sold this substantial property in Archway to a private investment company in April 2015.
The sale price exceeded the client’s asking price of £725,000.

Previously occupied as a ground floor florist shop with bedsit rooms above, the buyer intends to renovate the residential premises.