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Government moves to reverse controversial ‘staircase tax’

The Government also said that some businesses were paying more overall because they were losing small business rate relief.

The Government has published draft legislation to reverse the so-called ‘staircase tax’ which charged thousands of businesses occupying more than one adjoining floor in a building as if they were operating as separate companies.

A Supreme Court ruling earlier this year meant that hundreds of businesses operating in adjoining units or rooms, that are accessed from a common corridor or staircase, were slapped with separate rate bills for each unit.

On Friday, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said that those bills would now be written off.

“The ‘staircase tax’ is an unfair rates hike for businesses. For years these businesses in adjoining units or rooms received one rates bill, but this ruling meant they now faced multiple bills for operating in an office linked by a communal lift or stairs,” he said.

“I am ending this by giving those businesses affected the option of getting their rates bills recalculated and any savings due backdated,” he added.

The Government also said that some businesses were paying more overall because they were losing small business rate relief, which is a discount that can be applied to the bills of certain businesses with a lower rateable value.

Any savings due will be backdated, including for firm who lost the small business rate relief.

Affected businesses should approach the Valuation Office Agency. The Department for Communities and Local Government said that it would now be consulting with stakeholders and experts and that it aims to introduce the bill shortly.

Source: The Independent

2 January 2018