Business Rates 2023 Revaluation – Are you Ready?

February 16, 2023

Business Rates 2023 Revaluation – Are you Ready? by Elliot Newby MRICS

April 2023 will see an update to the rateable values attached to commercial property in England and Wales, which underpins what occupiers pay in business rates. What do you need to know?

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is responsible for assessing the rateable value of commercial properties across England and Wales, which is used to calculate business rates. The VOA undertakes a revaluation of all commercial properties on a cyclical basis (usually every 5 years or so) to ensure that the rateable values accurately reflect the rental market at that time. The next revaluation is coming into place in April 2023, and this is expected to have a significant impact on businesses across the country.

What is a VOA Revaluation?

The VOA revaluation is a process by which the rateable values of commercial properties in England and Wales are updated to reflect changes in the rental market. The last revaluation took place in 2017, and was based upon values as at April 2015. The latest revaluation that will be effective from April 2023 is based upon rental figures as at April 2021. The two-year delay is generally used to allow the VOA time to gather the requisite information, make their assessment and implement the changes. During the revaluation, the VOA assesses the rental value of each commercial property, taking into account factors such as location, size, and quality. The rateable value is then used to calculate the business rates that the property occupier must pay.

Impact on Businesses

The VOA revaluation is expected to have a significant impact on businesses across England and Wales. In areas where rental values have increased, businesses may see their rateable values and business rates increase significantly, which can put pressure on their bottom line. Conversely, in areas where rental values have decreased, businesses may see their rateable values and business rates decrease, which can offer some relief to the current economic pressures.

Interestingly, statistics provided by the VOA would suggest that the overall percentage change for commercial property in the York unitary authority is -3.4% (+7.1% nationally), which is largely driven by the York retail sector, which sees a significant average percentage change of -19.3% (-10.0% nationally). Conversely, the York industrial sector will see an average rise of +19.4% (+27.1% nationally) and the office sector will see an average rise of +12.0% (+10.2% nationally). Selby, Ryedale and Hambleton will all see overall average increases of +14.2%, +3.5% and +7.2% respectively.

In addition to the potential financial impact, the VOA revaluation can also impact the location decisions of businesses. For example, if a business is considering altering or expanding their current property, they may need to take into account the potential changes to their rateable value and business rates as a result of the VOA revaluation.

Preparing for the VOA Revaluation

To prepare for the VOA revaluation, businesses can take several steps to mitigate the potential impact on their bottom line. First, they can ensure that they have accurate and up-to-date information about their commercial property, including its size, location, and quality. They can also engage with a qualified surveyor or valuer to provide an independent assessment of the rental value of their property.

Additionally, businesses can engage with their local council to understand how the VOA revaluation will impact their business rates. The council can provide information about the upcoming changes, as well as any reliefs or exemptions that may be available to reduce the impact on businesses, such as transitional relief and small business exemptions.

In summary, the VOA revaluation in April 2023 will have a significant impact on businesses across England and Wales. While the precise impact will depend on a variety of factors, businesses should take proactive steps to understand the impact and mitigate the potential impact on their bottom line, where necessary. By preparing in advance and engaging with relevant professionals, businesses can minimise the impact and position themselves for success in an evolving commercial property market.

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