Tax relief to trim small firms’ rates bills

The Government has confirmed that small businesses will see their business rates reduced next year. A bill announced in the Queen’s Speech will deliver a 50% discount that is aimed at retailers and will also benefit restaurants and pubs, while independent cinemas and music venues will qualify for the rate relief for the first time.

Ministers say nine in ten independent firms will qualify for the relief, which is available to those with a rateable value below £51,000 and will deliver a saving of up to £12,500. The rate relief will cost the Treasury £770m next year, with the current 33% discount accounting for £450m, with a further £320m needed to top it up to 50%. The Government says the measures detailed yesterday will help firms ahead of a “fundamental review” of business rates that is due to begin in the spring.

The Mail notes that the rate relief does not help larger retailers, who claim the tax gives an unfair advantage to online retailers. Considering the pledges on rates, the Telegraph notes that revaluations are to occur every three years instead of every five, which the Government says will make rates better reflect economic conditions.

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