Business rates are a charge paid by owners, leaseholders and occupiers of non-domestic properties, such as shops, offices, factories, warehouses and pubs to help pay for local services.
However, the property doesn’t have to be used for a business, if it is used for purposes which are not domestic it is likely to be rateable. If the property is unoccupied or empty, the owner or the person entitled to possession, including lessees, are liable.
We are responsible for collecting business rates from businesses in the Somerset Council area.
Apart from properties that are exempt from business rates, each non-domestic property has a rateable value set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). The VOA keeps a full list of all rateable values shown in local and national lists.
We work out the amount of Business Rates payable by multiplying the rateable value (RV) of each property by one of two Business Rates multiplier figures (also called the Non-Domestic Rating Multipliers or ‘poundage’). The multipliers are set each year by central government for the whole of England.
The multipliers change each year in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI) and take into account of the cost of small business rate relief. By law, they can’t go up by more than the rate of inflation, except in the year of a revaluation.
The small business multiplier
The small business rate multiplier is a lower figure. It’s used for occupied properties where either of the following apply:
- You are in receipt of small business rate relief
- You are not in receipt of mandatory relief and the property has a rateable value less than £51,000 (from 1 April 2017).
The standard multiplier
The standard multiplier is for all properties where the small business multiplier doesn’t apply. This includes all empty properties.
When there is a revaluation, the multiplier is set at a level which keeps the total amount raised in rates the same as before, plus inflation for that year. Following revaluation, businesses facing a large increase or decrease come under transitional arrangements.