Once you receive the form you have only 56 days to fill it out and return it or you could be fined or face a higher rates bill - which is why licensees are urged to act quickly.
We asked the BII’s business rates expert James Ward, an Associate at the BII Markeplace Partner firm Harris Lamb, what licensees need to know…
Supplementary advice following the issue of the Request for Information Forms from the Valuation Office Agency from James Ward, Associate at Harris Lamb:
- The Valuation Office Agency are issuing their ‘Requests for Information Forms’ to Licensed Properties across the country in advance of the next Revaluation. This will come into effect on 1st April 2021 and will be based on information relating to the period around 1st April 2019.
- Publicans have been urged by the VOA to complete and return these forms so that the next Revaluation can be made as accurately as possible.
- As with the last Revaluation in 2017, this could see Rateable Values rise for some and fall for others, and as yet there is limited information from the Valuation Office Agency on the potential availability of Transitional Phasing either up or down that could mitigate any large increases or decreases for rate payers and their Local Authorities. This leaves publicans with no idea how the next change made to their Rateable Value might alter their bottom line!
- As the forms come with a warning of a fine for tardy responses and it would appear the VOA have made significant improvements in the section that deals with collecting fines it seems only logical to respond in a timely fashion to these requests to avoid unnecessary and unavoidable expense.
- It is imperative that publicans respond with accurate financial information in the first instance. This means stripping out any external income that might be included in the pubs records such as outside bars for private or community events, it is also vital that the figures are returned with VAT removed (no-one wants to pay tax on tax!) all business streams should be shown as separate entities so the wet, dry, accommodation and gaming machine figures should be shown as standalone figures. Ticket sales for events and live music nights are also to be given to the VOA to assist the Revaluation, although there is a lack of space to expand on these and offer the actual cost of these events which could be offset against the income to achieve a more balanced valuation. It would seem we all need to check the valuation again in 2 years to make sure all is as well as might be expected.
- What the Valuation Office Agency have yet to reveal is how they will use these basic figures to work out the profitability of each site and therefore its intrinsic ability to pay the new liability. I would urge all Publicans to contact a reputable agent to discuss briefly the potential future outcome for their site and to ensure all information is reflective of any potentially mitigating factors.
- Always use a reputable agent recommended to you by the BII, your Brewery or Pubco, these agents should at the very least offer basic information and advice free of charge and in some cases may be able to reduce your liability historically and in the future.
For more information about how Business Rates are calculated click here
Harris Lamb are happy to offer initial advice to all fellow BII members and offer a no win no fee service to those requiring more detailed assistance in regard to their Rates Liability