Retailers call for review of business rates system
Over £2 billion that has been set aside to cover appeals against business rates remains unspent, according to campaigners and retailers who have called for an urgent review of the business rates system. The Valuation Office Agency (VOA), which is responsible for valuing business premises in England, has reserved 3.6% of the total rates bill to cover any successful appeals against business rates. However, only 1.4% of the reserve pot has been awarded to claimants since 2010, leaving over £2 billion unaccounted for, even though Government rules mean that the VOA cannot have a surplus. Although the Chancellor has capped annual business rate rises at 2%, rateable values and the business rates system as a whole will not be reviewed until 2017.
Employment status review launched
An employment-status review has been launched by the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) to consider whether the dividing line between employment and self employment has been ‘drawn in the right place and in the right way’. The OTS has acknowledged that many people now work for more than one business, and may be employed by one and working on a self-employed basis for another, meaning current employment status tests can cause uncertainty. The review will also consider changes in employment law and how increased digitisation could provide scope for simplification of tax systems. The OTS is expected to publish its recommendations before the Budget in 2015.