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Firms Ask for Simpler Approach to Business Rates

The UK’s SMEs are overwhelmingly calling for business rates to be made both simpler and more flexible, research from Close Brothers Asset Finance reveals. Overall, the figure stands at 71%, with businesses at the larger end of the scale feeling particularly frustrated.

Business Rates are a tax on business properties set by the government; they are collected by local authorities and are the way that those who occupy non-domestic property contribute towards the cost of local services.

“According to the latest advice, business rates are worked out based on a property’s ‘rateable value’, which is its open market rental value, which is in turn based on an estimate by the Valuation Office Agency,” said Neil Davies, CEO, Close Brothers Asset Finance. “Rates can be estimated by multiplying the rateable value by the correct ‘multiplier’, an amount set by central government.

“Our study has found that it’s a nuanced picture out there, and what I mean by that is that the call for clarity is not driven by cost concerns. 51% of those polled feel that the rates they pay are ‘just right’ against 32% who feel they are ‘too expensive’, which is consistent across regions, industries and business size.

“In addition, more businesses (44%) feel they are getting value for money compared to those who feel they are not (39%).”

(Source: Close Brothers Asset Finance)

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