UK businesses urge reform of ‘broken’ property tax system

The business rates system is “broken” and unfair despite recent attempts at reform, according to business representatives lobbying UK chancellor Philip Hammond ahead of his first Budget on March 8. The property tax is based on rental values, and the first revaluation in seven years is set to take effect in April.

“The current rates system is broken, and despite attempts by successive governments to introduce marginal reforms, the fundamental unfairness of business rates remains,” Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said in a February 6 release. Businesses of all sizes, sectors, and locations “lament the burden of this high up-front cost, which they are forced to pay before making even a penny of profit,” he said.

“Some of the [smaller] businesses will face the question, ‘Do we carry on in business or do we close down?’ Without government action we are looking at a significant increase in bankruptcies,” Stephen Herring, head of tax at the Institute of Directors, told the Financial Times. Read more:

My news story for Tax Analysts, February 9 (paywall)