Revaluation Predicts Lower Rates For Retailers

Local retailers could see a fall in their rates bills according to the latest revaluation figures.

Land & Property Services draft valuation of all 74,000 businesses in Northern Ireland also showed that some office sector firms may see an overall increase in their rateable value.

Reval2020 produced a new non-domestic Valuation List that can be used to calculate business rate bills from April 2020. A revaluation is not about collecting more money from businesses, but it is about ensuring that everyone pays their fair share. The process restores fairness in the rating system by redistributing basically the same rating burden using more up-to-date values.

Business rates are charged on most non-domestic premises including shops, offices, warehouses, factories, hotels and pubs as well as utilities such as gas, water, electricity and wind farms.

The results show a modest growth in the total value in Northern Ireland of 6.8% compared to the current Valuation List which is based on 2013 values.

Sue Gray, Permanent Secretary at Department of Finance, offered words of encouragement to local firms. She said: "The revaluation means that from April, ratepayers will contribute to the funding of essential public services such as health, education and infrastructure as well as a wide range of council services relative to their 2018 rental value, instead of 2013 values as at present.
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"The growth in the total value of the Valuation List does not translate into a corresponding overall increase in rate bills. I will be seeking to ensure that the regional business rate poundage that we set is lowered to reflect the overall growth in the Valuation List. I will also be encouraging councils to do the same in respect of district rate poundages reflecting the fact that revaluation is not about raising more revenue overall from rates."

If rate poundages are adjusted downwards by both central government and district councils (before any necessary cost of inflation) this would mean up to 59% of business ratepayers would either see a reduction or little or no change in their rate bill.

Retail NI published its preliminary outcomes of the revaluation, which include:

• many high street shops and some shopping centres will see a decrease in rateable value, with some as much as 10%;

• many of the edge of town retail parks will remain constant;

• some of the largest food stores show a decrease in rateable value of between 5% and 15%;

• the office sector shows an overall increase in rateable value of 8%; and

• the pub trade will see considerable variation in values with notable decreases in some pubs and significant increases in some pubs in busy urban areas.

Firms can view a breakdown of how their value has been calculated and check the same details for similar properties across Northern Ireland using the Department's Spatial NI platform.

Companies unable to access the required information or with queries about their new valuation are urged to contact LPS on 0300 200 7801.

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