Norfolk County Council Trading Standards are highlighting the latest consumer scams in Norfolk.
Rate Reductions, Reliefs and Rateable Value Appeals - Rating Advisers
Ratepayers do not have to be represented in discussions about their rateable value, appeals, reliefs or their rates bill. All of these can be done free of charge. However, ratepayers who do wish to be represented should be aware that members of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, Rating Surveyors Association and the Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation are qualified and are regulated by rules of professional conduct and ethics designed to protect the public from misconduct and overcharging.
Before you employ a rating adviser, you should check that they have the necessary knowledge and expertise, as well as appropriate indemnity insurance.
Take great care and, if necessary, seek further advice before entering into any contract or agreement.
'Cowboy' rating advisers may well be cold calling in your area offering big savings in your business rate bill!
Please be aware though - these operators are highly unlikely to be professionally qualified and may make fraudulent promises to secure large reductions in your rates bill so as to obtain early payments from you of up to several hundred pounds!
Once you've paid them you are unlikely to be able to seek redress, except through the courts, and an ill-considered appeal could even increase your rates bill.
Four claims to check:
- "We have a team of qualified professionals". Do they? Check the firm and the individuals with the professional bodies listed above.
- "We have achieved by %%% reductions for several clients". Demand the names and telephone numbers of past clients and ring them to check.
- "We can get huge %%% reductions on your property". If they make these claims before making a full investigation of your property, they may be 'cowboys'.
- "You will have nothing to pay unless we succeed". Whatever their salesman may say, demand to see a copy of their contract. Free advice can be obtained from the RICS helpline number 024 7686 8555. Be careful if the contract entitles the firm to a percentage of the reduction in Rateable Value. This may not necessarily lead to a saving in the rates you have to pay.
Find out what business rate reliefs am I entitled to
You may be entitled to a reduction of your business rates (non-domestic rates, or NNDR) charge if your business occupies a non-domestic rated property with a rateable value of less than £18,000.
- Properties with a rateable value below £6000 receive a 100% reduction on the non-domestic rate charge. This will decrease on a sliding scale by 1% for every £60 rateable value between £6001 and £11,999.
- Properties with a rateable value between £12,000 and £17,999 will not receive an additional rate reduction, but will pay rates based on the lower multiplier of 46.2p (rather than 47.1p).
Should your circumstances change, such as occupation of an additional property or an increase in rateable value, you must notify us within 4 weeks or you could lose your relief entitlement.
It is a criminal offence to provide false information when applying for small business rate relief. If you do so you could be fined, imprisoned or both.
See our small business rate relief page.
Empty properties do not qualify for small business rate relief. See our Empty business property page.
What if I have more than one property?
If you have more than one non-domestic rated property you may still be eligible to this relief if:
- All other properties have a rateable value of less than £2,600 each and;
- The rateable value of your main property plus all other properties totals less than £18,000.
Small business rate relief will only be granted to your main property - the one with the highest rateable value.