The biggest news from last week’s budget for many of our clients is the proposed introduction of a new retail relief for up to 90% of High Street properties.

The Chancellor promised to cut liabilities by a third on retail premises with a Rateable Value of up to £51,000 for two years from April 2019 and we understand that the definition of “retail property” will also include car showrooms, restaurants, coffee shops, pubs, bars, etc.

As always, the devil will be in the detail and our rating surveyor consultants will closely monitor progress on implementing the legislation to ensure that all of our qualifying clients benefit from the relief.

Other measures include a new taskforce with a £675m budget to regenerate High Streets nationwide and 100% relief for all stand-alone public lavatories.
The Staircase Tax is a complicated and ever-evolving area within Business Rates. It started with a case that rating surveyor consultant Paul Rabette took to Valuation Tribunal (and resoundingly won, we might add) back in 2010. The Lands Tribunal and the Court of Appeal agreed with the arguments that Paul originally put forward. However, unfortunately, the Supreme Court did not, leading to a landmark decision that introduced the Staircase Tax. This resulted in huge changes in the way that properties are assessed, with lots of occupiers nationwide seeing their properties “split” into multiple assessments – causing an administrative nightmare and often an increase in liability.

The new Act gained Royal Assent on 1 November and provides the opportunity to correct errors caused by the Supreme Court decision. It also allows our rating surveyors to revisit any cases where clients were advised not to appeal or where appeals were withdrawn based on the law as it stood. We can backdate as far as 1st April 2010. Our consultants have already compiled a list of clients that could benefit from this and will be submitting appeals shortly. If you think this may apply to you please contact kit.rabette@dayandbell.co.uk