Laura Sharman 13 July 2018

Councils sue one in six businesses over rate arrears figures reveal

Nearly 190,000 companies were taken to court last year by councils over non-payment of business rates, a new investigation has revealed.

The Altus Group found that 15.16% of firms liable for business rates received a summons to appear before a Magistrates last year.

The consultancy company said these figures show the system is ‘criminalising’ firms struggling to cope with the ever increasing tax burden.

Robert Hayton, head of UK business rates at Altus Group, said: ‘Annual inflationary rises for the 7 years prior to the revaluation pushed the tax rate from 41.4p in 2010/11 to 49.7p in 2016/17 meaning a rise of 20% in bills even before the revaluation came into effect creating financial pressures.

‘Add to the mix the current, deeply unfair, system of downward transitional relief which severely limits the amount by which bills can go down, meant many businesses ended up paying disproportionately high bills in locations where local economies were underperforming and values had fallen.’

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