Private schools 'will save £522m in business rates tax relief in next five years'

According to the business rates firm CVS, 586 of 1,038 private schools in England and Wales have charitable status and are therefore entitled to 80 per cent mandatory business rates tax relief

Charitable private schools will save £522m on business rates over the next five years because of their charitable status, according to new research.

The figures are based on requests to 132 councils made under the Freedom of Information Act by the business rates firm CVS, which found that 586 out of 1,038 private schools in England and Wales had charitable status and were therefore entitled to the 80 per cent mandatory business rates tax relief.

All charities are entitled to the 80 per cent relief from business rates, with a further 20 per cent available on a discretionary basis.

CVS also analysed government figures on private schools and found that 2,707 properties were classified as private schools.

These schools had a combined rateable value of £386.6m based on the last property assessment in 2010, but this has since risen by 19.6 per cent to £462.5m, CVS said.

CVS estimated that private schools could pay almost £1.2bn in business rates over the next five years if the business rates revaluation were to take place, but their charitable status meant that this figure would fall to £634.3m. 

CVS also released the figures for some well-known private schools that will save substantial sums over the next five years because of the business rates exemption.

For example, Eton College, which was attended by the former Prime Minister David Cameron, will pay £821,040 in business rates over the next five years, but would face a bill of £4.1m over the same period if it were not a registered charity.

Dulwich College in south London, which was attended by the former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, will pay £786,752 in business rates over the next five years, compared with a potential tax bill of £3.9m if it did not have charitable status, according to CVS.

Waverley Borough Council in Surrey grants the highest amount of business rate relief to private schools, the research shows, with five London boroughs also making the top 10.

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