Is there anything I can do about it?
Challenge your rateable value
If you think your business rates bill is wrong, ask your landlord to challenge the rateable value of your property.
Abi Ribchester, who owns children’s clothing company Tutti Frutti Clothing, recently asked her landlord to do this. “It is a very small shop,” she says. After the revaluation, the rateable value dropped by £10,000, and her rates bill reduced “considerably”. She also qualifies for the current retail rent relief at 75%. “At the moment my rent is low and so rates, whilst frustrating, are manageable.”
There is more information on how to challenge rateable value here.
Check all the reliefs available to you
Not everyone is aware of the business rate reliefs that are available to them. Kate Greenhalgh, who runs online gift business A Year of Dates, found that by having a small retail element at her new premises, she was eligible for 75% rate relief for this year. “Because customers can come and buy from us, we are eligible. This was a huge benefit!” she says.
Although it isn’t clear whether any further relief will be available to the sector after the autumn statement, many small businesses hope there will still be a reduction for retail, even if it is smaller, so this may still be worth considering.
Other reliefs include those available to rural businesses – for example village shops – which are the only ones in the area, and transitional rate relief for those whose premises have been upvalued substantially, leaving them with higher bills.
Split if you can
Claire Goodliff, who runs three businesses, found an unusual way to bring down business rates. When launching Amazing Jane sportwear, she knew she needed warehouse space but it was too expensive with the rates.
However, the premises she found had three partitions to make separate space so she submitted plans to the Valuation Office online to split it into three business suites with a communal kitchen. Each of her businesses now operates out of a separate suite.
Because the rateable value for each suite is smaller, they qualify for the small business exemption.