INFORMATION FOR BUSINESSES
We have developed a new website for businesses on the Scottish Business Portal with information about business rates here. Throughout 2013 - 2014, online services for businesses will continue to be developed as part of the Scottish Government's wider digital strategy which includes the development of Mygovscot - a single online place for citizens, businesses and visitors to access public sector services.
New Official Statistics published on 30 October 2013 show that record numbers of business properties in Scotland are benefiting from Small Business Bonus Scheme (SBBS) business rates relief. Over the past five years the number of recipients has increased by 44 per cent from 64,179 in 2008-09 to 92,381 in 2013-14. The increase is as a result of an expansion of the scheme under the current government and greater awareness.
The latest figures show the Small Business Bonus Scheme will save recipients an average of £1,668 in 2013-14 and reduce the business rates tax paid by Scottish businesses by £154 million in 2013-14, an increase from £144 million in 2012-13.
You can find out more about the Small Business Bonus Scheme and information on whether you might qualify here or by contacting your local council.
On 27 November 2012 the Scottish Government announced it is postponing the next revaluation until 2017. It will use this time to have a thorough and comprehensive review of the business rates system and also launched its consultation on business rates, “Supporting Business – Promoting Growth”, which closed on 22 February 2013.
Where consent was given, responses to the consultation on business rates have now been published. These can be viewed here.
On 4 September the Scottish Government announced its publication of the response to the business rates consultation.
The Scottish Government response to the consultation paper "Supporting Business - Promoting Growth" can be viewed here, along with the independent analysis report of all consultation responses here.
To keep up to date with this consultation and wider measures to support sustainable economic growth, please follow the Scottish Government Economy on Twitter @scotgoveconomy
Poundage Rate for 2013-14
The Poundage (pence in the pound) Rate that will apply in Scotland from 1 April 2013 will be 46.2p. For property with a rateable value over £35,000 a small supplement of 0.9p will also apply. In addition large retail properties with a Rateable Value on or over the threshold of £300,000 which sells both alcohol and tobacco will also be required to pay the Public Health Supplement of 13p. The Small Business Bonus Scheme (SBBS) will continue throughout 2013-14.
Changes to Empty Property Relief from 1 April 2013
Empty property relief - For 2013-14 will grant 100% mandatory rates relief to properties which are empty for the first 3 months and 10% discount thereafter. However, for some properties such as industrial and listed buildings and properties with rateable values of less than £1,700 there are no rates to pay even after the first 3 months.
From 1st April 2013 the following two new reliefs will apply.
Fresh Start - The introduction of this new relief will assist owners and landlords fill empty properties as well as encouraging new start-ups through reduced rates bills. New occupiers of shops or offices that have been empty for at least a year will be able to apply for a 50% discount on their business rates for 12 months.
New Start - This new relief will will provide rates relief, of up to 100%, to owners/developers of new build empty properties for up to 18 months to encourage speculative development and investment and help increase the supply of new premises for businesses. The relief will be introduced 6 months earlier than the planned UK Government equivalent and will run for 3 years.
Charity relief - No change to current scheme, where your organisation is a registered charity, listed on the register maintained by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR), and the property occupied by your organisation is used "wholly or mainly for charitable purposes", you may be entitled to 80% mandatory rates relief. It is up to each local authority to determine whether a property is being used "wholly or mainly for charitable purposes". Your local authority also has discretionary powers to top this relief up to 100%.
Non Domestic (Business) Rates Deferral Scheme 2012-13
The Scottish Government has introduced an opt-in non-domestic (business) rate deferral scheme for 2012-13. Under this scheme rate paying businesses in Scotland will be able to defer payment of part of the increase in their 2012-13 business rates bills as a result of the 5.6% increase in the poundage until 2013-14 and 2014-15. In practice this deferred amount is equal to 3.2% of the 2012-13 bill, which will be repaid half in 2013-14 and half in 2014-15. Further details of the deferral scheme are available within the Local Government Finance Circular No. 2/2012 and within the Scottish 2012-13 Business Rates Deferral Scheme Leaflet. Please also see the example application form, however, you should note that your application form should be sent to your local authority and their application form may differ from our example which is for information only.
Spending Review 2011: Open Letter Scottish Business
Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth John Swinney has today published a letter to businesses on actions the Scottish Government is taking to accelerate sustainable economic growth and to support Scottish business.
In the letter he states how the budget supports growth, creates jobs and maintains the most generous package of reliefs available to business anywhere in the UK, worth on average more than £560 million per annum.
Publication of an analysis of business rates in Scotland
The Scottish Government published on 14 May 2010 an analysis of business rates in Scotland, which shows almost 60 per cent of ratepayers have seen their bills fall or remain the same from April 1 2010.
The analysis, carried out since changes came into effect following the recent revaluation of business rates, shows Scotland's small businesses are significant beneficiaries of the Scottish Government's decisions.
In contrast, an estimated 79 per cent of all ratepayers would have been worse or no better off had the Scottish Government decided to introduce a transitional relief scheme similar to that in England. In particular, 63 per cent of properties in the hotels sector would have been worse or no better off with such a scheme.
Other key findings are that, before the impact of the Scottish Government's rates relief package is taken into account:
The private sector has, with just under 60 per cent, the greater proportion of ratepayers seeing their bills decrease or stay the same as a result of revaluation, compared with just 26 per cent in the public sector.
A traditional transitional relief scheme would have resulted in an estimated transfer of funds from a large part of the private sector, amounting to almost £77 million in 2010-11 alone, to cushion the rates bill increases for the public sector and a relatively small number of large businesses in the private sector.
Through transitional relief an estimated 81 per cent of small and medium sized rate-paying businesses in the private sector would have been worse or no better off, compared to an estimated 51 per cent in the public sector being better off.
A copy of the full report is available here
Non Domestic Rates
Non domestic rates are a property based tax. They are based on the rateable value of a non-domestic (business) property, multiplied by a poundage set nationally by Scottish Ministers, less any relief to which a ratepayer may be eligible.