Q. My business is struggling in the recession. Where can I get advice?
A. For advice regarding payment of Business Rates, discounts and exemptions, or if you are falling in to arrears, please contact: Business Rates Section, Conwy County Borough Council on: 01492 576609, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you wish to obtain advice on what help may be available to your business in areas other than Business Rates you may also wish to contact: Councils Business and Development Department on: 01492 574574 or by email to email@example.com.
Q. Why do I have to pay Business (or Non-Domestic) Rates?
A. Business Rates are a national tax which and are a contribution made by businesses towards the cost of services provided by Conwy County Borough Council, the Community Councils, and the Police and Fire and Rescue Services. All the money collected is passed on to the Government, who then redistributes the money to Local Government on the basis of the population of the area.
Q. Why do I have to pay for the collection of my trade refuse?
A. Whilst Domestic waste is collected within costs covered under the council tax, this is not the case with shops, factories and other businesses under the non-domestic rating system. Under Section 34 of The Environmental Protection Act 1990 all businesses have a Duty of Care to dispose of their waste through authorised trade waste collection services and must be able to prove this. Those committing an offence face an unlimited fine and possible imprisonment.
Q. How are my rates calculated?
A. A rate liability is calculated by multiplying the Non-Domestic Rating Multiplier (formerly known as a rate in the pound or the Rate Poundage) by the Rateable Value of a property.
Q. What is this Multiplier or Rate Poundage?
A. This is a value set by the Welsh Assembly Government. For the year commencing 1 April 2013, the value was set at 46.4p, which meant that for every £1 of Rateable Value, you will pay 46.4p in rates. This value is adjusted every year to allow for the effects of inflation.
Q. What is the Rateable Value of my property?
A. This is a value based upon the annual rent that could be obtained from your property on a certain date. For the current Rating List that was effective from 1 April 2010, the rental evidence used was the value as at 1 April 2008. These values are revised every 5 years.
Q. Who determines the Rateable Value?
A. The Valuation Office Agency, Ty Rhodfa, Ty Glas Road, Llanishen, Cardiff CF14 5GR determines what the value of property is for Rating purposes. He is completely independent from Conwy County Borough Council and can be contacted on 03000 504240. It is their responsibility to ensure that the Non-Domestic Rating List is kept accurate and up to date. The Valuation Office has a web site, www.voa.gov.uk.
Q. What is the Non-Domestic Rating List?
A. Every Council has a list that shows that value of all Non Domestic properties in its area - the Non-Domestic Rating List. It shows all properties in the area, their rateable values, and their descriptions. The properties are listed in alphabetical street order within postal areas and every property has its own reference number. If any amendments to an assessment are made, a suitable notation is made of what the amendment was and where details can be found.
Q. Can I see this Non-Domestic Rating List, and if so, where?
A. The Rating List is a public document and can be seen at the Valuation Officer's web site at http://www.voa.gov.uk Information is also held at the Council's main offices at Bodlondeb, Bangor Road, Conwy LL32 8DU.
Q. What if I do not agree that the Rateable Value of my property is correct?
A. Any person who does not agree with the Rateable Value shown in the Rating List may appeal against the value. ALL appeals must be made to The Valuation Officer, details above, and NOT to Conwy County Borough Council. An appeal must be IN WRITING and state the reasons why the value is incorrect. However, Rateable Values can go up as well as down and you will need to take this into account when deciding whether or not to appeal against the value.
Q. I have appealed against the Rateable Value of my property. Do I still have to pay?
A. Yes. Rates are payable on the basis of the rateable value currently appearing in the list and you remain liable to pay the account sent to you until such time as the rateable value in the list is amended. If the value is reduced, any overpayment will be refunded, together with any interest that might be due in certain instances.
Q. Why is my next door neighbour's Business Rates less than mine?
A. Every property has a rateable value that reflects the individual property's annual rent. Any query should be directed to The Valuation Officer.
Q. My rent is inclusive of Business Rates, so why do I get the bill?
A. Liability to pay Business Rates rests with the person entitled to beneficial occupation (i.e. the occupier) of a property, irrespective of any third party agreement. You should discuss this with your landlord, as agreements between Landlords and their Tenants are a matter between themselves and are not binding on a Local (or Billing) Authority in the event of any dispute between those parties. Should a tenant pay a rent that includes Rates, but the landlord does not pass those payments on to the Council, the Tenant will still be liable to pay and may then have to take action to recover the monies paid to the landlord against the landlord.