We’ve been asked some questions about business rates this week so we’re sharing some facts below:
- The Council has no powers on what businesses are billed. The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) sets the value of a property and the annual bill is set based on that value.
- There are however a number of reliefs available to businesses every year. For example, there is charity and small business relief. Over 50% of all businesses, mostly small and medium sized in Sheffield, do get some form of relief.
- The Council’s role is in verifying that the criteria for these reliefs are met before awarding any relief and can apply some limited discretions.
- As well as the specific reliefs, if businesses are genuinely struggling, whilst we cannot change the bill, we have the discretion to agree a different schedule of payments. These are usually for a short period of time as longer arrangements can negatively impact on the ability of a business to pay rates in the future. We do though have to balance this flexibility against the interests of other ratepayers in the city.
- It is important when businesses are appealing against their rates bill for them to keep paying that higher bill because our experience is that if the VOA refuses an appeal, then the resulting arrears can get businesses into payment difficulties. Where there is a successful appeal, we refund the higher rates that have already been paid.
- We always encourage businesses to contact us directly with any questions they have about their rates or rates relief.
Businesses can call the Business Rates Team for more information on 0114 2734318 between 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Thursday and 8.30am to 4.45pm on Fridays.
More information on business rates is here: https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/home/business/business-rates
Application forms for applying for rate relief are at: www.sheffield.gov.uk/home/business/business-rate-relief