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Business Rates Update - Software provider

News on the implementation of new legislation has generated queries on the ease of transition.

The Treasury have announced very welcome increases to the reliefs applied to Business Rates for pubs from 1st April 2020 but for many Local Authorities there may be a potential delay in these being applied to Rates Bills due to software development delays from one company’s Local Authority Revenues programme.

BII Business Rates advisors, Harris Lamb have approached Civica, software supplier to approximately 20% of local authorities, who have reassured us that they are doing all that they can to make the transition a quick and smooth one.

“We take seriously all matters related to the implementation of new legislation and the support for local communities, an area in which we have an excellent track record.

“Following the announcement of proposed changes to legislation in late January, all suppliers of business rates systems are working under the same short timescales for delivery. We are working with customers to implement the necessary updates as quickly as possible and in line with the legislation timetable. We expect initial software updates to be available within the next 2 weeks.  Availability of these updates will also be dependent on a specific Council’s implementation of the software which may/will differ per authority.”

The Reliefs promised to the Pub Sector are an increase in the level of the Retail Discount from one-third to 50 per cent. This will apply from 1st April 2020 until 31st March 2021 for eligible retail businesses occupying a property with a rateable value less than £51,000. This relief will also be extended to include eligible music venues and cinemas with a rateable value of less than £51,000.

This increased Retail Relief is now worth up to £12,699 for a pub with a Rateable Value of £50,900.

In addition, the Government also announced a Pubs Discount which will provide a £1,000 discount to eligible pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 from 1st April 2020 until 31st March 2021. This is in addition to the retail discount and will apply after the retail discount has been applied to the rates bill for the property.

Our advice at Harris Lamb is to double check your 2020 Rates Bill when it arrives and to contact your Local Authority Revenues department if you think you have not received your full amount of reliefs. Local Authorities can manually amend your bill and may be willing to assist, especially if you are suffering hardship because of the delay.

If in any doubt BII Members should contact Harris Lamb for confirmation of available relief on an individual property.