With all the bad publicity about business rates, it wouldn’t be surprising if rising entrepreneurs were put off renting an office. Which is unfortunate because most of our clients don’t pay business rates.
The reason is, Small Business Rates Relief. Introduced in the far off days of the last Labour government as a temporary response to the pain caused to small shopkeepers and others by the burden of business rates at a time when shops were in trouble following the economic collapse, it has been extended again and again until last year Chancellor George Osborne made it a permanent benefit to small businesses.
In essence, you don’t pay business rates on properties with a rateable value of £6,000 or less. And none of the rooms at Hampshire Workspace has anything like that rateable value.
It’s a big advantage that corridors, staircases, kitchens, the reception and all other common areas are part of Hampshire Workspace’s property so we pay the Business Rates on them. It’s not like electricity, heating or cleaning which are included in what your payment for your office. There simply are no rates to pay.
There are two exceptions to the receipt of rates relief. One is when a business has a number of offices in more than one site (for example, this can happen if a large company uses an office at Hampshire Workspace as a branch). The other is when a company has offices on different floors in which case each is assessed separately and small business rates may only apply to one. This is the so-called ‘staircase tax’.
So don’t be put off by all the headlines. Rateable values may be astronomically high in Winchester but, even so, very few of our clients pay business rates.
UPDATE: The Chancellor promised in his Autumn 2017 Budget that there would be legislation to abolish the ‘staircase tax’ so that a company with offices on more than one floor will have them assessed together.