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Warning over empty property rate charges


A leading business group is warning that landlords could be in for a shock when changes to the empty property rates exemption take effect later this year.


Following exemptions introduced in 2009, business rates are not currently payable where the rateable value of the empty property is £18,000 or below.


However, with this threshold set to revert to £2,600 from April, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has argued that the change could add to the burden on firms in a challenging economic climate.


‘The Government has said that small businesses have a vital role in driving economic growth and getting the recovery on a firm footing, yet for some businesses this additional tax could tip the balance and force them into insolvency,’ said Roger Culcheth, the FSB’s Local Government Policy Chairman.


The organisation has also voiced concerns over the Government’s decision not to re-introduce a 50% relief, arguing that small firms will be ‘worse off than they were prior the 2009 change’.


‘We urge the Government to look closely at this matter and, at the very least, allow the business to claim Small Business Rate Relief,’ added Mr Culcheth.


Business rates are payable by the occupiers of non-domestic property such as offices, shops, warehouses and factories in England and Wales. More information and details of the current rates can be viewed on the Business Link website.