Reading the rates
The government have announced a business rates holiday for business ratepayers in the hotel, tourism and leisure businesses.
Business ratepayers in all business sectors who qualify for full business rates relief will also be given a grant by their local authority. The local authorities concerned will get in touch with all the qualifying business ratepayers on their official records and will invite them to claim the grant.
Unfortunately, it is not at all clear how the financial support will get to the right people. Most businesses occupying business premises are not listed as the ratepayers, because they are tenants rather than owners of the premises. The consequence of the Government’s measures would seem at present to be a huge cash bonanza to landlords of commercial properties for doing nothing.
Just to make sure I am not losing the plot, I have discussed the situation with tax consultants who believe that my reading of events is correct as at the time of writing (2 p.m. on 20 March 2020). They have suggested that all business tenants who are concerned about it should get in touch with the Treasury for clarification.
One of the clients of this practice is a senior chap on the Financial Times. I have passed the above on to him as a news item to look into.
Should there be any further developments we will advise as soon as we can.
We should also point out that business owners who work from home would seem not to be able to get any help at all under the above rules.
– By Stephen Handley, FCCA