The Chancellor in his Spring Budget has announced three key
immediate measures in respect of business rates. These measures
follow significant industry and backbench unrest arising from the
2017 revaluation and, in particular, the revaluation's impact
on small businesses. The measures are:
No business losing small business rate relief will see their
bill increase next year by more than £50 a month;
90% of local pubs will have a £1,000 discount on their
business rates bill; and
A £300 million fund for local councils to offer
discretionary relief for hard-hit cases.
The measures are very much aimed at small businesses. There is
no detail as yet on the mechanism for discretionary relief in
respect of business rates hardship. The package is by its nature
reactionary and does not address the fundamental reasons as to why
industry is up in arms about the 2017 revaluation.
The Chancellor in his speech emphasised that business rates
could not simply be abolished as they were worth £25 billion
in revenue. However, Mr Hammond acknowledged the 2017 revaluation
had created issues and "hard cases". The Chancellor is
currently considering reform to the revaluation process in order to
make it smoother and more frequent. The government's current
view is that revaluation should be at least every three years. The
government will set out its approach in the Autumn 2017 Budget and
will consult upon it before the 2022 revaluation. Whilst this is
cautiously welcomed, the scope of such a consultation may be
limited and simply may not address the fundamental problems of
having a taxation system based on property values. This may not go
far enough to appease ratepayers disgruntled with the 2017
The Chancellor also recognised the transition from a bricks and
mortar economy to a more digital one. Mr Hammond confirmed that in
the medium term he would be looking at a better way to tax the
digital economy to achieve fiscal fairness vis-à-vis more
traditional forms of business. This will be welcomed by businesses
which rely heavily on property and whose market share has been
eroded by those whose model is more electronically based and who
are consequently less exposed to business rates liability.
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The seminar will take place on 31 March 2017. It aims to provide German companies with an overview of the latest developments in relation to insurance coverage, banking transactions and legal aspects of doing business with Iran.
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The government has been working to incorporate the changes required as a result of the OECD's work on BEPS Action 5: Harmful Tax Practices, which requires implementation of a Nexus approach to the Patent Box regime.
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