Belfast Telegraph

Property Watch: Revaluation of business rates 'will bring greater fairness to the system'

The rates revaluation of business premises in Belfast aims to make the system fairer
The rates revaluation of business premises in Belfast aims to make the system fairer

By Sharon Magee MRICS, District Valuer and Project Manager for Reval2020 at Land & Property Services

As announced back in 2018, changes are coming to rates bills for business properties across Northern Ireland.

Land & Property Services has just completed a revaluation of all 74,000 business properties in NI, ensuring that the valuation of every business property - whether rented, owner occupied or vacant - will now be in line with April 2018 rental values.

The new values will be used to calculate rate bills for business from April 2020.

The last revaluation of business properties in Northern Ireland was in 2015, and was based on 2013 rental values. I think we can all agree, a lot has changed since then.

A revaluation is not about increasing the total amount of rates paid in Northern Ireland. It is about dividing that amount out again more fairly between business ratepayers, and using new rateable values that are based on April 2018 rental values.

Social, economic and environmental circumstances change over time and do not affect all property sectors or geographical areas in the same way.

That is why Northern Ireland is now in a five-year revaluation cycle. Going forward, in keeping with previous ministerial commitments, we will be carrying out revaluations even more frequently and regularly, like other parts of the UK.

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The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in NI supports this; a revaluation is carried out by Land & Property Service Valuers who are all members of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

This most recent revaluation will ensure the rating system remains up-to-date, by taking into account local economic changes (both positive and negative) and makes the system fairer by sharing the rate liability across all sectors in line with April 2018 rental values.

Business owners should keep in mind that Land & Property Services will release a draft schedule of valuations online at the start of January. This will allow ratepayers and their representatives to see their new valuations as early as possible and ensure they have sufficient time to talk with us at Land & Property Services about their valuation, if necessary, before it is used to calculate their rate bill from 1 April 2020.

As a result of revaluation some properties' Net Annual Value (known as NAV) will go down and some will go up.

Many will stay the same. At this stage it is not possible to say what the impact on individual rate bills will be.

It is also worth noting that if a ratepayer is currently eligible for industrial derating, sport and recreation relief, or charitable exemption from rates, eligibility for these particular reliefs are unaffected by the revaluation and will be applied to the bill by Land & Property Services before the bill is issued in April 2020.

Belfast Telegraph