A better forecast for the future

Rates Plus have been providing advice to Local Authorities since the introduction of the ‘Localism Agenda’ in April 2013.

Local Authorities have more of an interest in their business rates revenue as they are now able to retain a percentage of these rates.

Councils now have a greater incentive to increase yield within the Authority and to understand potential effects within the Billing Authority on rate losses through rating appeals, demolition of properties and material changes which may also affect their business rates.

Rates Plus have recently formed an association with CIPFA (The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy) who have acknowledged the benefits that Rates Plus are able to offer to Local Authorities and are jointly promoting the service.

We understand the need for councils to be able to financially plan their budgets and we have been working closely with a number of Authorities to assist with this.

RATES PLUS CAN HELP IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS:

The Rates Forensic

Our diagnostic tool provides a line by line analysis of each property in the Council’s Rates records. This will reveal trend analysis of the Council’s RV as well as determine their exposure to risk in terms of RV appeals and provide a forecasting on loss for appeals not yet made. We are also able to provide assistance with completion of statutory forms including NNDR3 and related calculations taken from the analysis which is provided through the rates forensic tool. We have successfully helped a number of clients with audit queries either directly or indirectly with the auditor.

In addition to financial forecasting, this part of the analysis will identify:

  • Undervaluation of properties within the list;
  • Other risks arising out of rating appeal litigation.

This part of the service is undertaken by qualified rating surveyors, all of whom are registered valuers with RICS.

The Commercial Property Database Audit – Finding missing RV.

Auditing the database will help identify properties which are not currently shown within the Council’s list but for which a business “footprint” can be identified from other commercially available databases. Properties are also identified by cross-referencing with other Council records including Planning and Trade Refuse records, for example.

A robust audit will identify things like:

  • Properties missing from the List;
  • New businesses which have been set up and are trading;
  • Higher risk or less “tangible” rateable units include Advertising Rights, ATMs, Radio masts and so on.

Additional Services

You can count on more help once our diagnostic tool has delivered results. These include:

  • Negotiating rates on the Council’s behalf with the Valuation Office Agency (VOA);
  • Negotiating with the VOA in respect of the Council’s own property portfolio;
  • Rating Law and Practice, the List;
  • Rating Law and Practice, Collection and Enforcement;
  • Designing and delivering onsite bespoke training programmes;
  • Ongoing budgetary and forecasting service package for Business Rates Retention;
  • Managed services for Rating;
  • Advice and assistance with Audit queries.