The Business Rate Holiday Period Is Closing In

The year-long business rates holiday, which was introduced because of the onset of the pandemic was due to finish in England at the end of March, but the Chancellor announced on the 3rd March 2021 that the period was being extended by the Government until 30th June 2021. After that only businesses forced to shut this year would be eligible for a reduction in their bills. The relief is being capped at £2m, which will be a blow for non-essential retailers and pub companies with large property estates.

Whilst it has been an extremely difficult time for some of these businesses, local authorities also need to be able to raise sufficient funds and resources for local priorities in a way that is fair for their residents and gives the authorities the resources and tools they need to be able to deliver for their communities, so is now the time for those authorities to start thinking about commencing business rates reviews again?

What about those businesses that have potentially switched to an online presence?

Online Businesses can still potentially pose a challenge compared to that of a traditional business and business rates as a tax but this could still be an area of interest for an authority, especially as the online commerce may lead to other activities that will potentially generate business rates, such as distribution warehouses etc.

Capacity Has Been Reduced

The pandemic hasn’t only hit those businesses across an authority’s district, it has also potentially impacted the council themselves. The business rate holiday is coming to an end and authorities may want to look at starting to conduct reviews again, but just don’t have the teams or capacity available to conduct these reviews.

With increased workloads due to COVID Grants and Self-Isolation payments having to be made, as well as dealing with the more traditional day to day tasks, the easiest solution for many councils may be to look to a partner who can conduct reviews on their behalf: this is where Liberata can help.

How Liberata Can Help

Our Business Rates Review (or RV Finder) service identifies additional items that are either unrated or under-rated and gathers the right evidence to successfully get the hereditament rated via the Valuation Office (VO). The new Electronic Billing Authority Reports (EBAR) process has placed a further burden on local authorities to comply with the new guidelines and our service is set up to support this exact process.

Through our RV Finder service, we review and identify hereditaments that are not currently rated or misclassified.

If you would like to learn more about how Liberata can help, please click here.

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As a Council we are focused on ensuring that the services delivered are both sustainable and of the highest quality. We are delighted to be working with Liberata to help deliver these services on behalf of our residents and businesses. Liberata stood out with its ability to drive transformational change and improve customer access and digital services.
Richard Baker
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Following a formal process and tender notice, Liberata stood out with its ability to transform our services and improve customer access and digital services. Liberata has demonstrated it can achieve high collection rates across business rates and Council Tax services and benefits by improving processing times. We look forward to working with Liberata to help transform these services for our residents and ensuring we are providing the appropriate levels of support to the most vulnerable in our area.
A spokesperson for Swindon Borough Council
Swindon Borough Council
Eastleigh Borough Council has worked with Liberata for a number of years who undertake the council's empty home reviews, and I must say, their service exceeded all expectations. From start to finish, they demonstrated professionalism, efficiency, and a genuine commitment to addressing this critical issue in our community. Thanks to Liberata, the council has been able to maximise our empty home bonus year on year. This positive impact on our community cannot be overstated.
Kerrie Thomas
Eastleigh Borough Council
The RV Finder service from Liberata has really helped us ensure that our data is as accurate as possible and, when the VOA has processed the outstanding cases, I fully expect to see more than £1,000,000 of additional RV. The “risk and reward” model works well and the Council only has to pay for their success and the service is something that we will use on a regular basis.
Steve King
Leicester City Council
Liberata has been empowered to create a seamless integration with technology to digitally transform the Revenues and Benefits service whilst trying to protect local jobs. The joint strategy has helped to deliver innovative solutions that have exceeded expectations, whilst providing savings to the authority. This surge in digital engagement has helped deliver strong year one outturn with electronic billing and the technology will enable us to show improvements in the benefits speed of processing and in Council Tax processing of moves, discounts and exemptions.
Andy Stevens
Swindon Borough Council