Charities are being urged to respond to the government’s review of business rates in England.
Published yesterday, the Business Rates Review: Call For Evidence, seeks views on the business rates relief, which is worth £2bn to charities.
Under a subsection entitled "abuse", the report specifically mentions the charities where it highlights the misuse of empty property relief.
It calls attention to “owners granting leases on vacant properties to charities claiming the property will be used for charitable purposes when next in use”, despite there only being a handful of such cases when compared against the number of charities that receive the mandatory 80 per cent relief on business rates.
The first phase of the government's review will look at how the business rates system currently works, issues to be addressed, ideas for change, and a number of alternative taxes.
At this stage in the review, the government is not consulting on the specific design of policies.
The second phase of the review will seek evidence in response to the publication’s other sections that include valuations and transitional relief, plant and machinery investment, the administration of business rates, and exploring alternatives.
More detailed information can be found on the Charity Tax Group website.
The CTG tweeted earlier today: “The Fundamental Review of #BusinessRates has been published [England only]. Given the value of reliefs to #charities (almost £2bn) its crucial the sector responds to highlight their importance & the case for continued support & improvement.”
Roberta Fusco, director of policy and engagement at the Charity Finance Group, also urged charities to respond to what she said was “a crucially important review.”
The government is seeking responses to the first phase by 18 September, to inform an interim report in the autumn.
Followed by responses on all other sections by 31 October, before the review’s conclusion in the spring.
To submit an online response, click here.