The Budget of 11 March 2020 set out immediate reliefs (1 Apr 2020) for businesses, the details are published in the HM Treasury’s “Red Book” – [follow this link for more…]
- Flexibility: The Chancellor started his speech by confirming that in the circumstances where any UK tax paying business was concerned or unable to pay taxes on time to HMRC, they would be offered assistance. During his speech he stated that 2,000 HMRC call centre operators were ready to be contacted. I take this at face value and I have assumed that this will apply to business rates as well as Central Government taxation given that 50% of business rates does go to the Exchequer.
- Business rates retail discount – for one year from 1 April 2020, the business rates retail discount for properties with a Rateable Value below £51,000 in England will receive 100% relief for the 2020/21 rate year. Those properties that can qualify for this relief has been expanded to include as many hospitality uses as possible, beyond the usual retail criteria. Cinema & music venues are cited but we also take this to include B&Bs, guest houses, hotels, motels, arcades, and visitor centres. The cost of this relief (loss of revenue) to Local Authorities is underwritten by Central Government.
- Business rates pubs discount – The government now gives a £5,000 business rates discount for pubs for the 2020/21 rate year where they have a rateable value below £100,000 RV in England.
- Business rates local newspaper office space discount – The £1,500 business rates discount for office space used by local newspapers in England will be extended for an additional five years until 31 March 2025.
- Business rates public lavatories relief – The government will bring forward legislation as soon as possible in this session to provide mandatory 100% business rates relief for standalone public lavatories in England from April 2020.
The Chancellor restated that Local Authorities will be fully compensated for loss of income due to the application of these reliefs.
Other announcements concerned a review of the future of the business rates system and extra funding to modernise what is left of the Valuation Office Agency.