Retailers are being overcharged on rates

Retailers could potentially save up to 20 per cent on their business rates by double-checking that they have been correctly charged.

According to accountant KPMG, the UK retail sector is over-paying millions through incorrect rate charges. The situation has been allowed to fester because businesses accept rate charges as 'set in stone', rather than scrutinising them.

The accountants also claim that many companies are unaware of tax allowances and reliefs that could bring down the amount paid.

KPMG offered the example of a leading DIY chain that had its property portfolio reviewed and was found to be paying£115,000 more than it needed to in business rates. In another case, a department store chain was saved£70,000.

KPMG head of retail Amanda Aldridge said that business rates - the second largest occupancy outlay after rent - should be checked as closely as any other bill.