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Business rates

Published Thursday, May 31, 2018

A brief guide to the system of non-domestic rating, better known as ‘business rates’.

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This note provides a brief guide to the system of non-domestic rating, better known as ‘business rates’.

Business rates are a property tax paid by occupants of non-domestic properties. The basic rates bill is determined by multiplying the rateable value of a property (a ‘hereditament’) by the ‘multiplier’. A property’s rateable value is set by the Valuation Office Agency (in Scotland, the Assessors; and in Northern Ireland, Land and Property Services) at regular intervals. Billing authorities (district and unitary councils) collect business rates.

Various reliefs, both mandatory and discretionary, are available from full business rates liability. Limited powers also exist for local authorities to set supplementary business rates.

Business rates are devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This note focuses on the operation of the business rates system in England.

Additional detail on the revaluation of business rates coming into effect on 1 April 2017 can be found in the Library briefing Business rates: the 2017 revaluation.

Commons Briefing papers SN06247

Author: Mark Sandford

Topics: Local government, Taxation

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