Business rates / Pubs / 13 March 2015

Rates revaluation - pubs must act quickly to avoid fines and red tape, warns BBPA

• From 1st April, publicans to be asked for trading data to feed into business rates revaluation
• Just 28 days to avoid more complex forms
• Failure to respond could also mean higher business rates bills and fines, BBPA warns

The BBPA is alerting publicans that they need to act quickly in response to a looming letter from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) about their rateable valuation, if they want to avoid fines and unnecessary ‘red tape’.

The call comes because the VOA is now conducting a rates revaluation for the first time in seven years. As a result, from 1st April, it will be writing to licensees requesting trading data that will feed into the revaluation process.

This information will be used to calculate the rateable value of every pub in England and Wales, which forms the basis on which every pub’s Business Rates bill is calculated.

In a change from previous revaluations the data being collected has been reduced dramatically, down to just one page, but there is a catch – the short form is only valid if it is returned within 28 days.

If this form isn’t returned within the four-week period, publicans will face much more lengthy paperwork in order to comply with the process. The alternative form runs to eight pages and asks for much more complex information.

If this second form is not returned on time, then publicans could be facing fines. And if the VOA ends up having to estimate the valuation, this could result in a much higher rates bill that could then take years of effort to change.

BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds comments:

“To avoid more hassle and unnecessary paperwork, all licensees should look out for this short form from 1st April, and return it as soon as possible. While overall, we will continue to lead the battle for a fairer rating system for pubs, any extra burdens and inconvenience can be avoided by looking out for the short form, and acting quickly to fill it in as soon as it arrives.”

ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls comments:

“The ALMR and BBPA are working closely together to ensure that the latest pub revaluation process is based on the most comprehensive and best possible information about the trade. The ALMR’s Benchmarking Survey shows property costs are the second biggest overhead, particularly for casual dining outlets, and as rates are based on hypothetical trade, it is vital that the calculations are got right, first time. Filling in these new simplified forms gives us the opportunity to do just that.”

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