From today (1st November 2018), thousands of firms across England will be able to ask for tax rebates to their business rates bills going back as far as 2010 with the Queen scheduled to turn the bill to reverse the effects of the so called Staircase Tax into an Act of Parliament.
A Supreme Court judgement saw thousands of businesses that operate in adjoining units or rooms, but accessed from a common corridor or staircase, receiving separate rates bills for each unit increasing the overall amount of the business rates tax that they paid whilst also barring them from accessing rates relief which they could only qualify for if they owned one property.
The Government Bill, to reverse that judgement, which was published last December, had been stuck in a state of “ping pong” with the Bill having to go back to the House of Commons for consideration of amendments proposed by the House of Lords. However, the Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings) Bill 2017-19 is now due to receive Royal Assent on 1st November 2018.
The legislation, reversing the effects of the Supreme Court ruling, will save firms in England £40 million a year according to the Office For Budget Responsibility.
Alex Probyn, President of UK Expert Services at Altus Group, previously described the Government’s commitment to reverse the effects of the ‘Mazars’ ruling affecting as many as 80,000 properties as a “victory for common sense”.
Probyn said, “The Government should be applauded for listening and acting decisively to return firms to the tax position that they were in before the court ruling. Be in no doubt this is a big post-Budget rates boost with the Government marking it clear that these appeals will be prioritised.”