Business rates and their impact on further education establishments

Published on: 14th October 2016

In what has been billed as the biggest change in a generation, the process of the 2017 business rates revaluation is well under way. Richard Farr, partner in our rating team, considers what colleges and further education establishments need to know – and how they are likely to be impacted.

What are business rates?

Business rates are a tax payable on non-domestic buildings, including all educational buildings, set by the Government and collected by the relevant local Council. Similar to Council Tax for domestic properties, business rates serve as a contribution towards local services.

In England and Wales, business rates are calculated according to a property’s ‘rateable value’. For colleges that were built for educational purposes, this is usually set in reference to the cost of building a new facility at the time of the last valuation date (currently 1st April 2008). Where a college or FE establishment has been converted from another use, for example an office building as is common in the London boroughs, the rateable value represents the market annual rental value at the time of the last valuation date.

This figure is then multiplied by the annual Business Rates Multiplier, which is set by the Government, to give the total amount payable before any deductions.

All further education buildings have rateable values and must pay business rates as a result, but most are eligible for reliefs through charitable status.

What changes are under way?

On 1st April 2017, new rateable values for properties around the country will be implemented. This has triggered a lengthy process, including a number of key dates throughout 2016 and 2017.

Draft rateable values were published online by the VOA (Valuation Office Agency) on 30th September, which help organisations to understand their new valuation, whilst providing an opportunity for them to tell the VOA about any errors before the new rates are applied from April. For the first time, this information has only been made available online via the VOA website, and they won't be sending out printed valuations.

How will it impact FE establishments?

Most organisations including colleges are likely to experience a change in their business rates as a result of the business rates revaluation. This is because the valuation date is set two years before the last revaluation and since there has not been a revaluation since 1st April 2010, local authorities in England and Wales are still basing their business rates bills on 2008 figures. This will change next year, as all non-domestic properties in England and Wales will be reassessed based on a valuation date of 1st April 2015.

Sanderson Weatherall has a network of offices across the UK and working with educational buildings in different regions has shown us some interesting variations. In the London boroughs, for example, many colleges have seen an increase to their rateable value because the rental value of their property has increased considerably since 2008.

Outside of the M25, where it is usually more common to have purpose-built colleges (rather than converted buildings), many will have noticed a more modest increase in rateable values. Our own research shows building costs rose by around ten per cent between 2008 and 2015, due in part to the cost of materials such as steel and concrete, and this has been reflected.

Any establishment that has extended or refurbished their facilities since that time, or changed the use of a building, is also likely to have found that their rateable value has changed.

What happens next?

Although the draft rateable values have now been published, colleges will not be able to calculate their new business rates until the Government announces the multiplier in January. New rates bills will be issued on 1st March 2017 and the revaluation comes into effect from 1st April.

The important thing is to seek advice from a qualified rating advisor as soon as possible to make sure you are not paying over the odds. They can assess your draft rateable values and analyse whether you are entitled to a reduction in your business rates.

To watch our business rates revaluation video guide, please click here.

Business Rates

Sanderson Weatherall Rating specialists are RICS and IRRV qualified surveyors that can offer a comprehensive range of Rating services to clients including Rating Appeals, Rating Valuations, Rates Management and Rates Audit, together with cutting edge advice on Empty Rates mitigation. Regarded as experts in the field, all our senior staff are members of the Rating Surveyors' Association and are able to offer the very best Rates advice on the accuracy of Rating assessments and resultant Business Rates liabilities. Through our experts' memberships of the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation we are also happy to assist clients who have international local property tax liabilities. We participate in the activities of both of these professional bodies at the highest level and negotiate with government on the introduction of all new non domestic rating proposals. On the 1st April 2017 the new rating lists were published across England and Wales and from that date, businesses looking to challenge their business rates were required to do so through HMRC’s Government Gateway. If you don’t currently have an account then please follow the steps in our guide to setting up a Government Gateway account, registering properties and appointing an agent here.    Contact Us

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Sanderson Weatherall Rating specialists are RICS and IRRV qualified surveyors that can offer a comprehensive range of Rating services to clients including Rating Appeals, Rating Valuations, Rates Management and Rates Audit, together with cutting edge advice on Empty Rates mitigation.

Regarded as experts in the field, all our senior staff are members of the Rating Surveyors' Association and are able to offer the very best Rates advice on the accuracy of Rating assessments and resultant Business Rates liabilities. Through our experts' memberships of the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation we are also happy to assist clients who have international local property tax liabilities. We participate in the activities of both of these professional bodies at the highest level and negotiate with government on the introduction of all new non domestic rating proposals.

On the 1st April 2017 the new rating lists were published across England and Wales and from that date, businesses looking to challenge their business rates were required to do so through HMRC’s Government Gateway.

If you don’t currently have an account then please follow the steps in our guide to setting up a Government Gateway account, registering properties and appointing an agent here. 

 

Contact Us

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Public Sector Property Services

Our public sector team deliver a range of specialist property services to the public sector. As an appointed Crown Commercial Service supplier, our understanding of the public sector and experience in the property industry, allows us to develop specialist property solutions with organisations across the UK, including central and local government, social housing and education. Our approach is tailored to suit the requirements of the public sector, including the unique set of challenges that come from today’s tough economic landscape. Understanding your organisation with accredited public sector property services Whether you need design, development and planning support, advice on business rates or property management , or you’re looking to move or renegotiate your lease terms, we can help. Contact our public sector team and we’ll work with you to understand exactly what you need for your property solution.              Contact Us

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Our public sector team deliver a range of specialist property services to the public sector.

As an appointed Crown Commercial Service supplier, our understanding of the public sector and experience in the property industry, allows us to develop specialist property solutions with organisations across the UK, including central and local government, social housing and education.

Our approach is tailored to suit the requirements of the public sector, including the unique set of challenges that come from today’s tough economic landscape.

Understanding your organisation with accredited public sector property services

Whether you need design, development and planning support, advice on business rates or property management , or you’re looking to move or renegotiate your lease terms, we can help.

Contact our public sector team and we’ll work with you to understand exactly what you need for your property solution.

 CCS 2935 SML word Ppt         Homes England BLK AW

 

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Case Study: University of York

The Practice has substantial experience and expertise in this specialist area of valuation having acted for the University of York and Newcastle together with a significant number of other educational establishments in the 1990, 1995, 2000 & 2005 lists, and now going forward into the 2010 list. There has been a significant increase in rateable values within the higher education sector between the 2005 and 2010 lists.

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The Practice has substantial experience and expertise in this specialist area of valuation having acted for the University of York and Newcastle together with a significant number of other educational establishments in the 1990, 1995, 2000 & 2005 lists, and now going forward into the 2010 list. There has been a significant increase in rateable values within the higher education sector between the 2005 and 2010 lists.

[fulltext] =>

The main reason for this is that the majority of academic buildings are valued by reference to build cost (contractors test). Over the last five years the key raw materials including steel and concrete have risen significantly in cost.

We are of the opinion that the strategy agreed with the University at the commencement of the 2005 list has been very successful and as a consequence the University has minimised its rates liability both by the judicious appeal of compiled list assessments, proactive appeal of assessments to reflect material changes in circumstance particularly in light of the construction works and the use of reliefs and exemptions. Significant savings were achieved and all opportunities for temporary reductions and reliefs were exploited.

Sanderson Weatherall also carried out a rates audit for the University to ensure that the University’s internal accounts department are proficient.

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