How business rates are calculated and how to appeal

Find out how business rates are worked out and how to appeal if you think your rateable value is wrong or has changed.

We work out business rates each year by taking a property’s rateable value and multiplying it by the ‘multiplier’ set by the government each year.

What rateable value means

All properties which aren’t homes have a rateable value, as a way of measuring how valuable each property is.

Rateable values are usually revised every five years. The current rateable values are based on the 1 April 2015 valuation, coming into effect 1 April 2017.  

Find out more about the 2017 business rates revaluation.

Rateable values aren’t set by the council but by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), who are part of HM Revenues and Customs.   They can alter the value if circumstances change, and you, the ratepayer can appeal against the value if you believe that it's wrong. 

Your current rateable value represents a professional assessment of the annual rent of a property, as if it was available to let on the open market on the 1 April 2008.

Your rateable value for the seven year period starting 1 April 2010 is based on a similar assessment as at 1 April 2008.

The VOA gathers as much evidence as possible about actual rents paid for properties so that they can set appropriate rental values.

How the multiplier works

The rateable value is multiplied by the appropriate multiplier to work out the rates payable, before any relief is applied.  The multipliers are set each financial year by the government.  

In 2017 the multiplier for premises over £51,000 rateable value is 47.9p. If your rateable value is £100,000, we'd multiply this by 47.9p and your bill for the year will be £47,900.

The multiplier for premises under £51,000 rateable value is 46.6p. If your rateable value is £40,000, we'd multiply this by 46.6p and your bill for the year will be £18,640.

Each year on 1 April the multiplier is changed by the government depending on the level of inflation.

How rateable value can change

The rateable value of a property may be changed for a number of reasons:

  • your premises may alter in size as a result of an extension or other alteration
  • the use of your premises may change 
  • you may appeal against the assessment after a revaluation
  • you may combine your premises with next door or you may split it into two or more units

If you believe that your rateable value is too high or need to change the assessment of your property, you must contact the VOA.

Appeal about your rateable value

You have the right to appeal to the VOA about your rateable value if you think it’s too high, even if there haven’t been any changes to the property or your business.

If you want to appeal, contact the local VOA on 03000 501501 or ratingsouthwest@voa.gsi.gov.uk.

You can find out more about grounds for an appeal and how the process works on GOV.UK’s pages about business rates