April 26, 2017
Business rates (otherwise known as non-domestic rates) are a property tax where the revenues are used to contribute to local services. They are based upon the size and rental value of a commercial property and generally do not reflect the turnover or profits of your business.
If you are new to commercial property and are seeking to lease commercial premises, then it is crucial you include rates in your business cash flow. Similarly, if you already have business premises, it's important to consider business rates in your financial planning.
You may have to pay business rates if you're the owner, tenant or occupier of a non-domestic building, or use part of a building for business purposes. They're charged on most non-domestic and commercial properties, including:
The amount you pay may be reduced if you are entitled to business rates relief. In some cases you may not need to pay anything. These discounts only apply to your business rates bill and won't reduce your rent, water charges or other bills. Some relief schemes are automatic, but you'll need to apply through your local council in some cases.
You may qualify for the Scottish Government's Small Business Bonus Scheme if the combined rateable value of all your business premises is less than £35,000.
Contact your local council if you think you are entitled to a discount.
The good news is that for the year 1st April 2017/18, you won't have to pay any business rates at all if the rateable value of your property is £15,000 or less; an increase on the previous threshold of £10,000.
If you think the current rateable value for your business is wrong, you can ask the assessor to check the details. In certain circumstances, you can appeal your rates if you can't agree.
All revaluations can be appealed by 30 September 2017, or 6 months after the date of the revaluation notice – whichever is later.
There is no fee for lodging valuation appeals, but you must continue to pay your rates during the appeals process.
At a revaluation the local assessor will ask you to provide information about the property. Having the correct rateable value will reduce the need to appeal and make it less likely that you pay too much.