The Government has published a number of changes to the requirements for business rate demand notices. Billing authorities are now required to serve a different demand notice for different financial years and to publish explanatory notes on their website.

The changes to business rate demand notices are introduced by the Non-Domestic Rating (Demand Notices)(Amendment)(England) Regulations 2017 and will make the following amendments:

Demand notices relating to more than one year

Previously, billing authorities have been able to serve a single demand notice to cover multiple financial years. During the 2015 Business Rates Review, feedback from ratepayers was that multi-year billing was too confusing. Now, billing authorities must serve different demand notices for different financial years.

Demand notice explanatory notes

Billing authorities are now required to publish online the explanatory notes that were previously issued in hard copy with the demand notices. The information that must be included in explanatory notes is also being updated to reflect changes to business rates that will take effect in the 2017-18 billing year, such as the permanent doubling of small business rate relief and the doubling of the rural rate relief scheme.

The amendments are being made in support of the Government’s commitment to modernise and improve the administration of business rates and streamline the billing process. While the changes will have no financial impact on business, the amendments will improve and simplify the procedure by which demand notices are issued to businesses. These changes come into effect on 20 February 2017.