Opinion Former Article

Chartered Institute of Taxation welcomes wide-ranging review of Business Rates

The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) has welcomed the launch of a fundamental review of Business Rates in England. The Government published a call for evidence today following an initial announcement at Budget 2020.

Kersten Muller of the CIOT’s Business Rates Working Group said:

“The case for a fundamental review of business rates is overwhelming, though it will be a challenge for the Government to satisfy all interested parties, especially at a time when finances are likely to be tight.

“There are some reforms it should be possible to build consensus around, however. Transparency around the criteria for business rates reliefs and the processes for claiming them matters to business -  and to local authorities - that both collect business rates and are reliant upon them to fund local services.

“Billing authorities have the autonomy to run their business rates system as they see fit. There is no obligation for them to be consistent in whether reliefs are applied automatically or not. Businesses find it difficult to know what reliefs they are eligible for, and local authority guidance on reliefs can be limited. How a relief is claimed varies too – some authorities offering an online facility while others use paper forms; the forms themselves differ between authorities.

“The review is seeking evidence on whether and how reliefs can be simplified, targeted more effectively, made robust against abuse and how the design and administration of business rates reliefs can be otherwise improved.   The focus should be on a system that reflects the way businesses use property in the 21st century. Continual tinkering with the system does not create the best results.”

Notes for editors

1..  The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT)

The CIOT is the leading professional body in the United Kingdom concerned solely with taxation. The CIOT is an educational charity, promoting education and study of the administration and practice of taxation. One of our key aims is to work for a better, more efficient, tax system for all affected by it – taxpayers, their advisers and the authorities. The CIOT’s work covers all aspects of taxation, including direct and indirect taxes and duties. Through our Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG), the CIOT has a particular focus on improving the tax system, including tax credits and benefits, for the unrepresented taxpayer.

The CIOT draws on our members’ experience in private practice, commerce and industry, government and academia to improve tax administration and propose and explain how tax policy objectives can most effectively be achieved. We also link to, and draw on, similar leading professional tax bodies in other countries. The CIOT’s comments and recommendations on tax issues are made in line with our charitable objectives: we are politically neutral in our work.

The CIOT’s 19,000 members have the practising title of ‘Chartered Tax Adviser’ and the designatory letters ‘CTA’, to represent the leading tax qualification.

Contact: Chris Young, External Relations Manager, 07900 241 584 cyoung@ciot.org.uk

Out of hours contact George Crozier 07740 477374 gcrozier@ciot.org.uk

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