29 August 2012

Relief or reliefs

for Relief maps

If you don't already read the disclosure log you should as you will learn more about Barnet Council.

Here is a recent question and answer.

Thank you for your request received on 4 July 2012, for the following information:

1. Please confirm the exact criteria used to assess whether an organisation is awarded business rate relief.
2. What additional factors do you take into consideration when exercising your discretion to award business rate relief?
3. Please provide copies of any policies relating to the procedure and assessment criteria of awarding business rate relief.

We have processed this request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Under the Act you should have received a response within 20 working days. I apologise on behalf of the council for not meeting this deadline (there must be a huge stock of this sentence which gets used often)


Small business rate relief

You will be eligible for a discount under the small business rate relief scheme in England if you only occupy one property and it has a rateable value below £12,000.

The Government has temporarily doubled the level of relief available. Between 1 October 2010 and 31 March 2013, eligible ratepayers will receive small business rate relief at 100 per cent on properties up to £6,000 (rather than 50 per cent), and a tapering relief from 100 per cent to 0 per cent for properties up to £12,000 in rateable value for that period.

The temporary Small Business Rate Relief increase will therefore apply throughout the whole of the 2012-13 billing year (until 31 March 2013). The relief was originally doubled by the government until September 2011, but this was extended by the Budget in March 2011, and then extended again in the 2011 Autumn Statement to take account of economic conditions.

If you have more than one business property, the discount is only available if the rateable value of each of the other properties is below £2,600. If this is the case, the rateable values of all the properties will be combined and the relief is applied to the main property based on the total rateable value.

However, if you occupy a property with a rateable value below £18,000 (£25,500 in London) and you are not receiving a different mandatory relief, you will be eligible to have your bill calculated using the small business multiplier, regardless of the number of properties you occupy.

The Government has also simplified the process for claiming the relief by removing the legal requirement for an application form in order to claim the relief. However, if you are not receiving the relief and you think that you are eligible, you should contact your local billing authority.

There is no discretion when determining if a business is eligible to receive small business rate relief.
Now that is odd. Mr Mustard thought the question was, by chance, also about the S49 relief that he had asked about but the council didn't mention it. Maybe it doesn't exist any longer? No, that can't be right otherwise the answer to the question about S49 relief would have been "it no longer exists", not that Barnet Council haven't granted any recently. Hopefully some expert on the rating system will put him right. 
Feel free in FOI (you know the email address) to tell Mr Mustard that the question was refined and that refinement was not disclosed or that you have gone back over the question and updated the answer.
Anyway, at least there is a useful explanation about Small Business Rate Relief. Claim that if you can.
Yours frugally
Mr Mustard 

No comments:

Post a Comment

I now moderate comments in the light of the Delfi case. Due to the current high incidence of spam I have had to turn word verification on.