Article by Douglas Lambie, Licensed & Leisure Associate at Ryden
At the expiry of the current business rates relief, rates payable on licensed premises will revert back to the figures payable prior to lockdown. Business rates for pubs, hotels and restaurants are generally calculated on a trade related basis, with less reference to actual building size, with current rateable values being effective from the 1st April 2017 rating revaluation.
The rateable value assessments are, therefore, based on historical trading information. Although, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it may show unrealistically high levels of turnover. The social distancing measures deemed necessary to enable licensed premises to reopen have meant reduced customer capacity and often higher operational costs, resulting in lower turnover and profit.
Unless social distancing measures are relaxed, we consider that there are strong grounds for a material change of circumstances rating appeal. It is therefore important to keep accounts and if possible, to maintain monthly figures to illustrate the turnover differential between pre lockdown days and post reopening. Whilst we all hope that social distancing will eventually be relaxed, we are of the opinion that it would be prudent to lodge a material change of circumstances rating appeal now, as we consider that it is unlikely the current rates relief will be extended beyond the expiry date.
Don't hesitate to get in touch for further information.