DEFERRAL OF RATES LIABILITIES Today the Chancellor announced that the Government will allow ratepayers to defer the payment of a proportion of the increases in their 2009/10 business rates bills until 2010/11 and 2011/12. If the Government bring forward the necessary regulations, anticipated by the end of July, then it will be possible to apply to the Billing Authority for the deferment part of the 5% increase deferred as a result of the multiplier increase. The proposals are for 2% of the increase to be paid this year, with the other 3% spread across the next 2 years, ie 1.5% per year in the 2010/11 and 2011/12 rate years. Those who have suffered increases as a result of transitional relief dropping out will also be able to defray 60% of this part of the increase. This will only affect properties in England at present. Howard Elliott of our Basingstoke office comments… “This is likely to be a complete nightmare to administer with problems arising from changes in occupation, appeals against existing rateable values, splits and mergers. This is ill conceived and has not been thought through or consulted upon. The benefits are likely to be extremely marginal for most companies and the Government should have taken the opportunity simply to cut the increase rather than defer it.” He added … “Rate bills have already been produced and sent to ratepayers who have to pay the instalments as demanded until at least the summer then potentially bills will have to be reissued. This measure might have made more sense if it had been implemented a couple of months ago with due notice being given to the Billing Authorities and ratepayers alike.” Should you require any further information on how these new regulations might potentially affect you then please do not hesitate to contact Howard Elliott in our Basingstoke office on 01256 840777.