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New business rates function has £1m impact

An initiative, implemented just one year ago, to track down unrated and under-rated business premises has already resulted in Boston Borough Council identifying an additional £1,008,146 in business rates.

The council's new business rates assurance function has so far uncovered 61 new businesses and 111 under-rated business premises. These cases represent £678,270 to be collected annually from now on, and there are plenty more cases in the pipeline. These amounts will be shared between Boston Borough Council, Lincolnshire County Council and the Government.

A new full-time permanent role of Business Rates Assurance Manager was introduced in July 2014 to maximise business rates growth for the borough - an important function during times of cuts in central Government funding and austerity measures.

Cllr Aaron Spencer, the borough councils portfolio holder for finance, said: "This is about detecting and remedying deliberate or accidental rates avoidance to ensure that everyone is paying the correct amount. This will result in equity among our business ratepayer community and help us to keep the council tax down.

"We do not have a bigger rates avoidance problem than anyone else, but we are determined that everyone should pay their fair dues in accordance with legislation. We are receiving and uncovering leads on a daily basis from a wide variety of sources and we are very grateful to those that have supported us with this new function.

"I would urge any business not currently getting a rate bill, or any existing business which is not sure whether they are paying the correct amount of business rates, to contact us to be certain of their position as soon as they can. If an adjustment is required, the sooner that is put right then the more manageable it will be for the business concerned. Many smaller businesses will get either full or partial rates relief and so we are keen to make sure that is awarded too."

To check to see if premises are already rated, please follow this link: www.gov.uk/correct-your-business-rates (you only need an address or postcode). If the premises are not rated (perhaps because they have never been picked up or were previously exempt), or if you think that the rating assessment is out of date (perhaps because of alteration, expansion or improvement) please call our Business Rates Assurance Manager, Andy Hall on 01205 314430.

It is also important for owners, tenants and occupiers of premises to keep us informed of any relevant changes that could affect their rates bills (for example, changes in liable party, occupation/empty status, exemption and rate relief entitlement). Therefore, please help us to keep our records up to date by contacting our business rates service about these on 01205 314200 at the earliest opportunity.