Business Rates frequently asked questions
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Business Rates frequently asked questions

  • What is the rateable value of a property?
    An independent Valuation Officer from the Valuation Office fixes the rateable value of business properties based on the annual rent that could have been obtained on a certain date. Rateable values are reviewed every five years, with the current valuation list having been effective from 1 April 2010. The next revaluation will not take place until 1 April 2017
  • What is transitional relief?
    If there has been a large increase or decrease in the rateable value of your property as a result of the 2010 revaluation, the increase or decrease in your bill will be phased in over a number of years. Your rate bill will increase or reduce by a fixed percentage, plus inflation, each year. For further details, please contact the business rates team.
  • Why do I have to pay Business Rates?
    Business Rates are a contribution made by businesses towards the cost of local services. These services include road-maintenance, the Police and the Fire Service. Under the business rates retention arrangements introduced from 1 April 2013, local Councils keep a proportion of the business rates paid locally. This money, together with revenue from council tax payers, revenue support grant provided by the Government and certain other sums, is used to pay for the services provided by your local authority and other local authorities in your area.
  • Why is my neighbour's business rates bill less than mine?
    Every commercial property has a rateable value which reflects the individual property's annual rent that could have been obtained for the property on a certain date. If your rent determination is different from a neighbouring premises, then your business rates may also be different.
  • Do my business rates include refuse collection?
    No. There is a separate charge for commercial refuse collection (trade waste) - For Torridge District Council there are various trade refuse collectors. Properties let for the purpose of self-catering holiday accommodation need to either dispose of their waste by private licensed waste carrier or organise a schedule 2 waste collection from Torridge District Council. Please contact operational services on 01237 428734 for more information.
  • I have moved out of the property, do I have to tell the Council?
    Yes. Please tell us the following: the date you moved out of the premises, the date the premises were sold or the lease expired, your forwarding address for correspondence and details of the new owner or leaseholder. By letting us know promptly we can arrange to refund you any overpayment you may be entitled to.
  • I have appealed against the rateable value of my property, do I still have to pay?
    Yes. Business Rates are payable based on the current entry in the Rating List. If the rateable value of a property is reduced, any overpayment made will be refunded, together with any interest that may be due in some cases. Please note that we are not allowed, by law, to change your rateable value without first being advised of the new one in writing by the Valuation Office Agency.
  • My property is empty. Is there a charge for unoccupied rates?
    Unoccupied non-domestic properties are liable for empty property rates after an exempt period of up to three months (six months for industrial properties). Rates are charged at 100% of the annual bill. Specific types of properties, for example, listed buildings or properties with rateable values below £2,600 are exempt from payment of empty property rates.
  • My rent includes business rates - why is the bill addressed to me?
    By law, liability to pay business rates rests with the person entitled to beneficial occupation ( the occupier) of a property, irrespective of any third party agreement.
  • I am having difficulty in paying my instalments, what should I do?
    If you have problems paying your business rates, please let us know immediately. We will take your circumstances into account and where possible, offer you an alternative payment arrangement, though this may be subject to further recovery action.
  • What happens if I do not pay or I am late with my instalments?
    As soon as a payment is missed a reminder will be issued. Failure to bring the payment up to date will result in the facility to pay by instalments being withdrawn. The rest of the years charge will have to be paid in one lump sum. If you receive a Magistrates Court Summons because you have not paid your business rates, the cost of issuing the summons will be added to your account. After this a Liability Order will be requested at the magistrates court and further costs will be added to your account. If payment is not received and you have not contacted us to make a payment arrangement, then we may ask an Enforcement Agent to collect the debt on our behalf. You will have to pay further costs if this happens and the Enforcement Agent may take some of your company's or your possessions to sell at public auction to pay off your debt.
  • What is the benefit of paying by direct debit?
    The Council encourages the payment of business rates by direct debit as this is the cheapest method available for us to collect payments, and helps keep the cost of collection down. This in turn helps to keep any Council Tax increases to a minimum. You can opt to pay on either the 1st or the 15th of the month. From April 2014, ratepayers can also request their annual bill to be spread over 12 months.