Insight

All change for Northern Ireland after long-awaited business rates revaluation announced

There are going to be seismic changes for some businesses in Northern Ireland in the next financial year after the province’s Land and Property Services (LPS) published its draft revaluations list figures.

The revaluation affects some 74,000 non-domestic properties across NI and this is the first time Net Annual Value (NAV) has been adjusted since 2015, having been based previously on April 2013 rental values. The latest 2020 Valuation List is based on April 2018 rental values.

Overall, there will be a 6.8% overall increase but some sectors will be hit harder than others – namely Grade A office space and leisure where landlords have enjoyed sustained increases in rental yields over the past 5 years. Perhaps, more surprisingly, supermarket values have fallen since 2013 and so they will see some significant reductions in their business rate bills on April 1.

If rate poundages are adjusted downwards by both central government and district councils (before any necessary cost of inflation) overall, this would mean up to 59% of business ratepayers would either see a reduction or little or no change in their rate bill.

Belfast businesses will see some rises, again particularly in the office sector, but not overall. Big-name landmarks such as the Metro Building will see double digit increases but in the retail sector the picture is much more piecemeal. Victoria Square’s value, for example, remained static whilst Castlecourt saw a drop of more than 27% on the 2015 list.

Most hotels and well-placed city bars will see increases – Belfast in particular attracting large uplifts on the 2015 list.

Other preliminary points from the revaluation include:

  • many high street shops and some shopping centres will see a decrease in rateable value, with some as much as 10%;
  • many of the edge of town retail parks will remain constant;
  • some of the largest food stores show a decrease in rateable value of between 5% and 15%;
  • the office sector shows an overall increase in rateable value of 8%; and
  • the pub trade will see considerable variation in values with notable decreases in some pubs and significant increases in some pubs in busy urban areas.

Like England and Wales, NI businesses can challenge and appeal against the new NAVs but, overall, there are likely to be more winners than losers on April 1. News on next year’s multiplier is still to come ahead of the new financial year kicking in.

You can view the draft schedule of values at  www.finance-ni.gov.uk/reval-2020-ni

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