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Almost 200,000 businesses summoned to court over business rates last year

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Almost 200,000 businesses summoned to court over business rates last year

Almost 200,000 businesses are believed to have been hauled before magistrates’ courts for non-payment of business rates in the 2017/18 financial year, following the revaluation.

Real estate advisor Altus Group revealed information from 212 councils, representing 1,302,234 of the 1,902,148 business properties liable for rates, following requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

The information received showed 129,306 summons issued, equating to 9.9%, with Altus Group forecasting that the overall number is likely to have been in the region of 188,883.

When those businesses exempt from rates due to having a rateable value of less than £12,000 are taken into account the data suggests almost one in every six commercial properties receiving a business rates bill last year, also received a summons to court.

Robert Hayton, head of UK business rates at Altus Group, said: “Annual inflationary rises for the seven years prior to the revaluation pushed the tax rate from 41.4p in 2010/11 to 49.7p in 2016/17 meaning a rise of 20% in bills even before the revaluation came into effect creating financial pressures.”

“Add to the mix the current, deeply unfair, system of downward transitional relief which severely limits the amount by which bills can go down, meant many businesses ended up paying disproportionately high bills in locations where local economies were underperforming and values had fallen.”

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