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  • Writer's pictureDaria Gavrilova

Looking Ahead: Anticipations for the Autumn Budget in Business Rates

As we gear up for the Autumn Budget on 22nd November, it’s crucial to focus on the much-needed reforms in the UK’s business rates system. A fairer, more responsive system is not just a wish; it's a necessity for nurturing business growth and adapting to market changes. Here’s what ratepayers may expect to see:

1. Technical Enhancements: Courtesy of insights from the Tax Faculty of ICAEW, key changes could include a mandatory 60-day notice to the VOA for any liability-affecting changes. A more forgiving penalty regime is on the cards too, offering businesses a fair chance to comply. The push towards digitising the business rates system could significantly streamline processes, making relief targeting and avoidance detection more efficient.

2. The Non-Domestic Rating Bill: This bill is a beacon of modernisation, proposing valuations every three years for agility in adapting to property value changes. This will allow for more responsive adjustments to changes in property values. The bill also introduces new business rates improvement relief, ensuring that businesses making qualifying building improvements will not face higher business rates bills for 12 months, thus encouraging investment in property upgrades

3. CBI's Visionary Proposals: The CBI's recommendations are all about substantial overhaul. They’re advocating for a reduction in individual business rates burdens, a cap on rate increases, and a more economically synced system. These reforms could be the pillars supporting local economies and fostering growth across diverse regions.

4. Business Rates Freeze Requested by Retailers: Retailers in the UK, represented by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and other groups, have been actively urging the chancellor to freeze business rates. Their concern is that increasing business rates in line with inflation could significantly impact retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors, already facing high energy prices and soaring wage costs. They argue that for many businesses in these sectors, the financial crisis is far from over. The BRC and similar organisations have suggested that the cap on the relief scheme should be raised to at least £2 million per business to mitigate the financial burden. If rates were to rise with inflation, retailers could face an additional £480 million, and hospitality firms an extra £234 million in costs

In essence, these reforms aim to sculpt a business rates environment that’s not only fair and responsive but also a catalyst for investment and growth post-pandemic. We’re on the cusp of potentially significant changes that could redefine the business landscape in the UK.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a positive outcome in the Autumn Budget that aligns with these visionary reforms. #AutumnBudget #BusinessRatesReform #UKBusiness #EconomicGrowth #CPAInsights

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