Finance Minister Derek Mackay has announced a 12.5% cap to business rates increases for the licensed and leisure sector across Scotland and for office properties in North East Scotland.
While the caps will be welcomed by business owners operating in these areas it is still important for all businesses to appeal their rateable values, including those whose rates are now capped.
These caps may not stay in place for long and if they are lifted after the appeal period has passed the business owner may have to pay the full amount of the original increase with no right to appeal.
Business owners should appeal their rateable value before 30 September 2017 to protect themselves against future policy changes. The Barclay review is due to present its findings in July with the Scottish Government pledging to take quick action on the results.
Moira Walker, Head of Rating at Ryden said: “We are advising our clients to go ahead with rateable value appeals as the caps announced yesterday only apply to the first year of their business rates bills while the revaluation period covers five years. We don’t want to see businesses caught out by steep rises 12 months from now, especially as the appeal period will have passed and their hands will be tied.
When the Barclay review results are announced in the summer we are likely to see more changes to rates bills implemented by the Scottish Government and by that stage there may be as little as 12 weeks to the appeals deadline. It is important businesses get themselves into as good a position as possible to negotiate a reduction in their rateable value by taking professional advice.”