Business rates: valuations
Apart from properties that are exempt from business rates, each non-domestic property has a rateable value which is set by the valuation officers of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an Agency of the Inland Revenue. It draws up and maintains a full list of all rateable values, which can be viewed on the GOV.UK website.
The rateable value of your property will be shown on the front of your bill. The rateable value broadly represents the yearly rent the property could have been let for on the open market on a particular date. For the revaluation that came into effect on 1 April 2000, this date was set at 1 April 1998.
The valuation officer has to maintain the list and may alter the value if he or she believes that the circumstances of the property have changed. The ratepayer (and certain others who have an interest in the property) can also appeal against the value shown in the list if they believe it is wrong. Further information on the grounds for making an appeal, and on how to make one, can be found on the VOA website or from your local valuation office.
The effect of successful appeals against values shown in the rating list that came into force on 1 April 2000 will normally be backdated to the beginning of the financial year in which they are made, although there are exceptions to this.
National non-domestic rating multiplier
The local council works out the Business Rates bill by multiplying the rateable value of the property by the multiplier or 'poundage' which the Government sets on 1 April each year for the whole of England. The Government normally changes the multiplier every year in line with inflation.
By law, the multiplier cannot go up by more than the rate of inflation, except in the year of a revaluation when it is set at a level which will keep the total amount raised in rates after the revaluation the same as before, plus inflation for that year. Revaluation's are held every five years, the next being due on 1 April 2015.
For 2013-14 the national non-domestic multiplier is 0.471 and the small business non-domestic multiplier is 0.462. The small business multiplier applies to properties where the rateable value is less than £25,500.
Property values normally change a good deal between each revaluation. Transitional arrangements help to phase in the effects of these changes by limiting the amount by which a bill may rise following a revaluation. To help pay for the limits on increases in bills after a revaluation, there also have to be limits on reductions in bills. Under the transition scheme, limits continue to apply to yearly increases and decreases until the full amount is due (rateable value times the multiplier).
The scheme applies only to the bill based on a property at the time of the revaluation. If there are any changes to the property after the revaluation date, transitional arrangements will not normally apply to the part of a bill that applies to any increase in rateable value due to those changes. You can get further information about transitional arrangements from the business rates section or on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) website.