Over the past 12 months inflation has sat stubbornly at levels last seen some 20 years ago and as this directly affects levels of Business Rates any opportunity to reduce the immediate effect of rating costs is welcome. One opportunity which is often overlooked is the Business Rates Deferral Scheme which has been re-introduced for the rate year 2012-13, having last been available during 2009-10. In both years a particular spike in inflation in the September proceeding the rate year set an uncomfortable inflation rate for Business Rates bills and the Government chose to provide a measure of relief.
The relief is fairly simple and can be applied for on a downloadable form at the web site www.communities.gov.uk, at any time up until 31st March 2013. It will enable the rate payer to defer 3.2% of their total annual bill to the years 2013-14 and 2014-15 when half the deferred amount will be paid off in each year together with the normal annual bill. On application the reduction will simply be applied in equal amounts to each remaining instalment due before the end of the rate year. So for instance if £500 is deferred at the time of the application and 5 months instalments remain to be paid, the reduction would be £100 per month.
No interest is charged on the deferred amount.
Whilst the amount that can be deferred appears fairly small, the relief applies to any property where the applicant is the ratepayer, so for ratepayers with a number of properties, particularly with high Rateable Values, the overall saving could be significant.
This is one of a number of reliefs and exemptions that are provided within the Rating system to alleviate the burden of rates, such as those for small rural businesses, for empty property and for premises occupied by Charities. Finding your way through the world of Rating can be a difficult and confusing process. Over the past 20 years Underwoods have established themselves as Northamptonshire’s leading Rating Practice and can advise on all aspects of what is for many businesses their second largest occupation cost.