All the signs are that the Westminster Government is now urgently seeking a radical reform to business rates as a means of generating local tax revenues in England, at the latest by 2022.
We believe that there are distinct advantages of self-certification and asking ratepayers to accurately submit their own property valuations with limited civil service supervision or costs. The benefit of any type of property tax is that it is immune from evasion because it is impossible to hide bricks and mortar.
Business rates are a central feature of tax on real estate across the whole of the UK, realising £30BN to Governments in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The trick for Government is to retain and grow such a reliable tax revenue at the lowest conceivable cost. The benefit to the taxpayer is certainty and self-determination.
At the moment it costs the Westminster Government somewhere in the order of £55M per annum to employ the Valuation Office Agency to deal with the preparation and defence of a 5 yearly revaluation and the Government now seems even more determined to reduce that cost. The Westminster Government’s obsessions with cost cutting has already proved detrimental to an expeditious and, some would suggest, fair treatment of ratepayers.