The Government has launched its consultation into the administration of the business rates system, urging retailers to air their views on the burdensome property tax.
Issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government the paper covers the way local authorities bill and collect business rates from businesses. It also addresses the application of reliefs and exemptions in the system and how properties are valued by the Valuation Office Agency.
The document states that any changes to the business rates system will be made after 2017.
The document says: “We want to see more businesses investing and helping our economy to grow. That is why we have implemented a range of policies to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business. This includes making the tax system simpler. We believe tax should be easy to understand and to comply with, so that businesses spend less time on their tax affairs and more time getting on with what they do best.
The next step is to improve the business rates system in England so that it works better in the 21st century. We want to find ways to make the business rates system simpler, more transparent and more responsive to economic circumstances.”
Business rates are the biggest gripe for retailers who say the excessive charges are restricting investment and job creation. Retailers were hit by a 2% increase to business rates at the beginning of April. However, this is down from the original 3.2% increase expected because the Government moved to cap rates at 2%, as announced in the Autumn Statement last year.
British Retail Consortium (BRC) director general Helen Dickinson said: “The BRC and our members welcomed the announcement of the review of the administration of business rates last December. “Now that the project is underway we look forward to working with the Treasury team on such a critical project for the future of UK business and the regeneration of town centres.
“We have been sharing our work on modelling options with other business rates payers as diverse as pubs and manufacturers and the consensus continues to expand that the current system requires fundamental reform. We will be encouraging the Treasury to think creatively and boldly in their work.”