SMEs call for manifesto action on business rates

(2 minutes to read)

The Check, Challenge, Appeal system was established in April 2017 to coincide with the most recent business rates revaluation.

Figures from the Valuation Office Agency show that a new business rates appeal platform has caused the number of firms registering a challenge to their bill to fall by 94% across England.

Following the installation of the Check, Challenge, Appeal (CCA) system, 12,580 firms now have outstanding challenges to their rates bills registered, compared to 209,140 at the same point after the 2010 revaluation.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling on all political parties to commit to radical reform of the £25 billion rates system through:

  • Wider roll-out and permanent implementation of the Retail Discount, which allows small retailers with rateable values of up to £51,000 to claim a 33% discount on their rates bills.
  • An increase in the 100% Small Business Rates Relief ceiling from £12,000.
  • Fundamentally reforming CCA and removing a quirk in the rates system that causes small firms to lose relief if they expand to another premises, thereby disincentivising growth.

“The business rates tax is a product of a bygone era.” Commented FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry. “This busted flush penalises independent high street businesses to the tune of billions every year before they’ve made their first pound in turnover, let alone profit.

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“As manifestos are drawn-up, we need to see politicians getting back to the business of addressing domestic challenges. From tax reform, to our late payment crisis, to spiralling employment costs, we’ve seen barriers to growth here at home hugely neglected over the past three years.”

Cherry added, “The Check, Challenge, Appeal platform has proven to be a total nightmare. Small firms simply don’t have the time or money to take on the herculean task of challenging their business rates bill through this massively bureaucratic and confusing system.

“Not only are they spending hours trying to navigate the system to bring together a case, they risk financial penalties if they challenge their bills unsuccessfully. In its efforts to deter spurious claims, CCA is stymying those that have a legitimate case.

“Some small businesses are being mistakenly driven into the arms of cowboy firms promising magically lower bills, while others tell us that they’re more likely to challenge their rates bills by picking up the phone to their local authority rather than use the CCA system that was built for this purpose – a telling indictment.”

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Dolan Accountancy was set up by Simon J Dolan, the man behind the well-known brand SJD Accountancy. With over 25 years experience in the contracting marketing, Dolan Accountancy has the heritage, reputation and credibility you can trust. Working closely with our sister company, Contractor Umbrella, it means we can offer one low cost, fixed fee package at £95 + VAT per month. This gives you the flexibility of using both our Limited Company Accountancy Services and our award winning Umbrella Service, for one inclusive cost. We don’t believe in tiered packages or hidden extra fees, instead we aim to give you everything you need, including:

  • Free Company Formation – This is where it all begins. Once you have decided on an available name, we will form your company free of charge (if using our accountancy services) and it will be ready for you to use in as little as three hours.
  • Free use of Contractor Umbrella – With changes in Public Sector IR35 Legislation we understand that sometimes you are required to contract via an umbrella company. We will keep your limited company ticking over, while you work margin free via our sister company, Contractor Umbrella.
  • A Dedicated Accountant – Your accountant will be there for any company or personal tax advice that you require. We will never outsource work, even to internal teams.
  • Free Access to FreeAgent – The founder behind the multi award winning FreeAgent platform was one of Simon’s first clients, therefore it only seems fitting that we offer all of our clients access to FreeAgent, free of charge.
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