Business rates for new properties
While they remain unoccupied, newly constructed properties and those created by conversion, are exempt from paying Business Rates for a specified period of time. The exemption will last in the main for three months, but in the case of qualifying industrial properties, for six months.
After that, unless the property attracts a further exemption (for example, the rateable value is below the empty rates threshold) a 100% empty charge will apply.
In accordance with Schedule 4A of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, the council is required to determine a completion date where a building is considered to have been completed or the work remaining to be done on a building is such that it can reasonably be expected to be completed within three months.
In such cases, the council will issue a completion notice, which will specify the building to which the notice relates and the day the council proposes as the completion day. The completion notice will be issued to the owner of the building, who is defined as ‘the person entitled to possession’. Where the initial exemption period has expired and a new owner is entitled to possession, the new owner is not entitled to a further free period.
The significance of the completion date is that:
- the initial exemption period runs from then
- the 100% liability will commence on expiry of the exemption unless the property is occupied beforehand or another exemption applies
Please note that completion notices issued for business rates are not the same as completion notices issued under Building Control Regulations, as they both serve different purposes. Even if a completion notice has not been issued under Building Control Regulations, this does not prevent one from being issued for business rates.
The council will supply the Valuation Office with:
- Copies of all completion notices served
- Information as to completion notices withdrawn
- Details of all agreements as to completion dates
This will help them to bring the property into the local rating list from the correct date.
If you agree with the completion date proposed by the Council, please complete and return the notice within 14 days of the date of the notice to confirm this. If you disagree, an appeal can be made against a completion notice on the grounds that the building:
- has not been completed
- cannot reasonably be expected to be completed by the specified day.
Your right of appeal is to the Valuation Tribunal. However, in the first instance please contact us as soon as possible so we can discuss the reasons why you disagree with the completion date. It may be a matter we can easily resolve without your need to appeal. A revised completion notice will be issued if necessary.
If, once the Council has considered your objection, you still disagree with the decision made, you have a right of appeal to the Valuation Tribunal. This must be done within four weeks of the date of service of the completion notice, so it is important to contact the Council as soon as possible if you do disagree with the completion date.
Where a completion notice is not withdrawn and no appeal is made, the date stated in the notice will be treated as the completion date. If an appeal is made and it is not dismissed or withdrawn, the completion day will be the day determined by the tribunal.