What changes are taking place regarding the administration of business rates and their revaluations? This briefing explores the latest Government policy on the subject.
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The Non-Domestic Rating (Lists) Bill is a government bill that would bring forward by one year the next revaluation for non-domestic rates to 1 April 2021 in England and Wales. The bill also moves the latest date by which draft rateable values must be published, from no later than 30 September 2020 to no later than 31 December 2020, in both England and Wales.
The bill was introduced in the House of Lords on 18 March 2020 and is scheduled to receive its second reading on 29 April 2020.
A similar bill of the same name was introduced in the 2017–19 session. It received its first reading in the House of Commons on 12 June 2019. The 2017–19 bill passed its Commons stages without amendment. It had received a second reading in the House of Lords, but did not progress further due to the prorogation of the 2017–19 session.
That bill contained an additional provision that would have moved the cycle of new rating lists from every five years to every three years. This provision is not included in the current bill. Instead, the Government has stated it “continues to recognise the benefits of frequent revaluations” and will consider the revaluation process as part of a “fundamental review” of business rates.
Consultations and recent announcements
In recent years, the Government has consulted on making changes to the administration of business rates. This included a consultation in April 2014, which found some respondents calling for more frequent revaluations. In March 2016, the Government consulted on proposals to move from a five-year to a three-year revaluation cycle.
In the 2017 autumn budget, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, announced the move to a three-yearly revaluation cycle. In March 2018, Mr Hammond also announced that the Government would be bringing forward the next business rates revaluation by one year to 2021. The Welsh Government also said that the next non-domestic rates revaluation in Wales would take place in 2021, in line with England.
In the Queen’s Speech on 19 December 2019, the Government announced that it would be considering the revaluation process as part of a review into business rates. The review began on 11 March 2020, with a report set to be published later in this year.