7 March 2024


by: Admin


Categories: Non-Domestic Rating

Business Rates: Avoidance and Evasion

Landlords with empty properties will likely be concerned with a document entitled “Business Rates: Avoidance and Evasion.” Currently, owners of empty properties can reoccupy for six weeks to reset the statutory void period.  The budget extends the occupation period from six weeks to thirteen weeks starting 1 April, 2024.

Despite seemingly endless previous consultations, the government is now set to start consultations on a “General Anti-Avoidance Rule” in England. This falls short of the current 6-month occupation requirement in Wales. Rates mitigation is seen by many as an essential part of minimising the holding cost of empty buildings, and the extension of the occupancy period to reset the relief will significantly increase empty rates costs.

Film studios, on the other hand, will benefit from “Film Studios Relief.”  Eligible sites in England will receive a 40% reduction on gross business rates bills from April 2024 until 2034, worth around £470 million over the next 10 years. The rateable value of some of these studios is staggering: Sky Studio’s £29m, Warner Bros in Watford £25m, and Pinewood £16m.