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The corridor tax? Problems in the world of business rates assessment

Do I really need to read an article about business rates? Well possibly. Read on.

Does your business occupy two or more rooms or floors of a building where those rooms/floors are separated by common areas (hallways, staircases, lifts)?

No? – relax, go and make a coffee.

Yes? – you could have a problem with the way your business rates are assessed.

What is the problem? – the courts have decided that where your business occupies two or more rooms of floors and those rooms/floors are separated by common parts then each area is to be assessed for business rates separately.

The implications? :

  1. Larger business rates;
  2. potential back dating of those additional rates once assessed to 2015
  3. loss of small business rate relief – small businesses can only claim this on one property

Can I avoid the problem? – Possibly. It is worth considering the following:

  • you may be able to treat the separated rooms as one (and not two premises) provided there is a clear co-dependency or put another way the occupation of one part would be pointless without the occupation of the other. Exclusive toilet or kitchen facilities would fall within this exemption;
  • you may be able to re-configure your occupation and re-organise the letting arrangement so that you occupy rooms/offices with no common areas between them;
  • take it up with your local MP – may sound pointless but in fact there are a number of MPs who are very unhappy with this ruling. Keep an eye on the autumn statement;

How can we help? – we can discuss your particular circumstances and review with you what (if any) action can be taken to improve your situation. Any solution needs to be cost effective and not result in unnecessary disruption to your business operations.

For more information and assistance please feel free to speak to Rebecca Dixon on 0117 403 3587 or 07572 635 453 or email her rdixon@murrellassociates.co.uk.

This information provided in this article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice and cannot be relied upon as such. Any law quoted in this article is correct as at October 2017. Appropriate legal advice should be sought for specific circumstances before any action is taken. Copyright © Murrell Associates Limited, October 2017.