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High street agents set for ‘fairer bills’ under business rates overhaul

Agency trade body Propertymark has welcomed reforms to the business rates system, meaning high street agents, and other businesses, could finally benefit from falling property values.

A new Non-Domestic Rating Bill has been introduced in Parliament to incentivise property improvements and support more frequent revaluations to deliver reforms in the commercial sector.

The measures being put forward in England will review and reform business rates, making them fairer and more responsive to changes in the market.


Instead of the current five years, frequent valuations will occur every three years, meaning those with falling values will see bills drop sooner.

Businesses making qualifying building improvements will not face higher business rates bills for 12 months, which will make it easier for investment as the new reliefs for property improvements provide tax breaks for those extending or upgrading a property.

Currently, ratepayers are not obliged to notify the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) of changes proactively but are required to respond to requests for information. 

Under the new system, ratepayers will, as is the case for other taxes, be expected to find out what their obligations are and proactively comply, using an online service. 

Ratepayers will need to notify the VOA within 60 days of changes to occupier and property characteristics that are relevant for valuations.

The Bill is still due to be debated in Parliament and hasn’t been passed into law yet.

Nathan Emerson, chief executive of Propertymark, said: “We are pleased to see that reforms are being made to the business rates system as more revaluations will ensure that rates are kept fair and accurate. 

“However, a more frequent, annual revaluation such as that being used in the Netherlands in their national and collaborative model, where ratepayers and taxpayers are seen as part of the process would even further reduce administration and generate a Government saving of an estimated £56m a year.

“As part of Propertymark’s wider lobbying and stakeholder work, we have been encouraging member agents to submit their data to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). Therefore, it is also positive to see that, as part of a wider package of measures to support more frequent revaluations, ratepayers will be obliged to proactively notify the VOA of changes to occupier and property characteristics to make valuations even more accurate.”


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