All clients with UK premises will be affected by the updating of the Rating List which comes into effect on 1 April 2010, reflecting the relative changes in rental values across the country as at 1 April 2008.

Business rates represent one of the largest costs for UK businesses and the new List is likely to result in an increased rates bill for many clients. Companies can reduce their liability by challenging their rateable values. However, time is running out for challenges to the 2005 List, as these must be made by 31 March 2010.

Companies will qualify for transitional relief which effectively phases in the more dramatic rates increases arising from changes in the rateable value shown in the List. Companies can also achieve savings by correctly applying the current regulations on empty properties, which is vitally important now that the rates liability is the same as for occupied properties.

On 25 January 2010 Herbert Smith hosted a joint conference for the Rating Surveyors’ Association and The Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation. Martin Dawbney and Frances Edwards spoke at the conference which was attended by over 90 business rates professionals.