The BRC has teamed up with other trade bodies today to demand action on business rates.
A joint letter to the Chancellor, signed by the BRC and other business groups including the Confederation of British Industry, the British Property Federation and the Association of Convenience Stores, called for four principles to be incorporated into the forthcoming review of business rates.
The BRC explained how it wants to ensure that it results in real change and said that without these, high streets and town centres will continue to suffer from this broken tax.
The letter called for the following four principles to be accepted by Government, and to be incorporated into the terms of reference for the forthcoming review of business rates:
- The overall tax burden must come down and fiscal neutrality is unsustainable: Government should look across the whole range of business taxes to spread the burden more equitably. Further, business rates cannot continue to be fiscally neutral, raising the same revenue each year. Business rates revenues, like other taxes, should fluctuate with changes in the economy.
- Simplify the administration of business rates: Simplifying business rates could promote understanding and coherence of the tax while reducing pressure on the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). This could include exempting or simplifying the assessment of businesses that yield little or no income but take up considerable VOA resources
- Ensure businesses are confident in the accuracy of rates bills through better funding for the VOA: The Check, Challenge, Appeal system is failing to deliver an efficient means for businesses to rightfully challenge their business rates bills. Smaller businesses cannot challenge their rateable values without professional support and larger business are having to invest heavily in additional agents to handle and track multiple appeals via an unwieldy portal
- The BRC said that it additionally wants to see “the complex system of transitional relief – whereby lower rates bills after revaluation are phased in over several years – reformed so that businesses pay the correct lower amount immediately, whilst retaining the protection against steep increases in bills.”