DWD work for a number of developers dealing with the legacy rating assessments in their buildings.
The art is to deliver timely and accurate advice followed by swift action to remove the assessments from the rate list before the liability acts as a drag on cashflow. Where schemes are delayed advice on rate mitigation strategies is important.
Project upon which we advise include the refurbishment, redevelopment and demolition of buildings. At the present time we are advising on a significant number of permitted development schemes that are converting redundant office and commercial space to residential use.
Two separate parts of government administer business rates. The Valuation Office (VOA), part of HMRC, are responsible for identifying and valuing units of rateable property. The tax is payable at roughly 50% of their opinion of the rental value of your property. Local Authorities are responsible for identifying the ratepayers, applying the correct charging rules, issuing rate demands and collecting the tax.
Our tax mitigation work falls into two distinct parts: Challenging and deleting the assessments created by the VOA and managing the charging and exemption processes to minimise pre-scheme liabilities.
Recent legal changes have led to a great deal of uncertainty around the circumstances required to either reduce assessments to £0 or delete them from the rate list entirely.
Our skill is in selecting and executing the best strategy for each set of circumstances so that we achieve the earliest possible effective date for the commencement of the zero liability.
In the property’s twilight months or years between occupation and redevelopment the empty property rate liability will need to be carefully managed. Different strategies will need to be adopted dependant on the circumstances and whether the property will be held empty for a short or long term.
For the 2017 Revaluation the government has introduced a new appeal system known as Check Challenge Appeal (CCA). This has made the appeal process slower and more complex. However, the underlying principles and opportunities presented by the rating system remain unchanged.
Different appeal types can be used to achieve different objectives: Where property is being redeveloped assessments can be either deleted or reduced to £0. The impact on liability is very similar, however the circumstances of each case will determine which route is most effective.
As developments near completion, Local Authorities will often issue Completion Notices to force the early assessment of both commercial/industrial space and domestic dwellings. These Completion Notices are open to challenge provided action is taken swiftly. DWD are expert in lodging and executing these appeals.
Exemptions & Relief
During empty or part occupied periods exemptions may be available to mitigate your business rates liability. Our advice will be tailored to the specific circumstances of each building and the proposed scheme in order to mitigate liability to business rates in the period running up to the commencement of the major works.
Part of our mission at DWD is to take the hassle of business rates off your desk.
We will provide annual budget and cashflow forecasts for your buildings. We will check and authorise rate demands. For some of our clients we act as the postal address for receiving demands and will only forward correct or corrected demands on to our clients’ accounts payable team that are correct for payment.
We offer advice on BID Levy issues as well as Business Rate Audit issues. Every year we complete hundreds of Valuation Officer requests for rental information on our clients’ behalf. This ensures accuracy and the appropriateness of the information supplied.