Every little helps: even royalty are appealing against business rates
It seems pretty much everyone these days is considering an appeal against their business rates bill – even the Queen.
Apparently, HRH has lodged an appeal against the Rateable Value of sporting land at her Scottish Balmoral estate following the SNP’s recent land reforms.
The move comes after the estate received a business rates’ bill for £16,800 following changes to the Land Reform Act.
After recently compiling a table on RV values of the biggest North West payers, this doesn’t seem like that big a deal, but everyone – even the Queen – has a right to challenge their business rates.
The increase that seems to have upset royalty covers land used for shooting and deer-stalking – previously exempt from rates but now the dispensation has been removed. HRH like all other businesses including pubs and shops, must pay business rates on her land.
Balmoral is probably seeking a review of how the RV has been calculated, depending on which local authorities the various parts of the vast estate fall under. I think it would be hard for Balmoral to argue the land isn’t used for hunting purposes when the media delight every year in showing us images of royal hunting parties in full swing.
According to the Scottish Assessors’ Association, the Queen is appealing the RV of £22,500 and £12,500 at two sites at Balmoral. The two sites have a joint business rates’ bill of £16,800. Sites across Scotland had been exempt under legislation passed by the Conservatives in 1994.
Around 22,000 businesses in Scotland are having to pay more in rates than their English counterparts due to recent tax changes so I’m sure the Queen will not be alone in appealing her RV north of the border but she is certainly one of the most-highest profile!
(Please note: I resisted the urge to use the famous quote of the Queen’s Great-Great-Grandmother, Queen Victoria, “we are not amused” throughout this piece).
This case centres on a substantial three-storey office block: Mexford House, North Shore in Blackpool.
Pressure is still increasing on the Government to take action on business rates after the latest national town centre vacancy rate reached 10.2% last month.
The Rating Surveyors Association has published its response to the Government’s current inquiry on how business rates policy has impacted business with some interesting recommendations.