The Finance minister Sammy Wilson has today published his thinking on the way forward for the proposed Rates Levy.

In summary:

  • A levy on retail properties with a rating assessment of £500,000 NAV or more
  • The levy will be set at 15% on average – a reduction of around £20,000 per annum compared to the original 20% proposed
  • The levy will fund 20% rate relief on all types of premises with assessments from £5,001 – £10,000 NAV
  • Ratepayers that occupy more than three premises, of any size, will not be eligible for small business rate relief anymore
  • Where shop fronts or shop windows of empty retail premises are used for non-commercial purposes ratepayers will continue to receive 50% empty property relief
  • These measures will apply for three years from 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2015
  • For 2012/13 only, new occupiers of shops that have been vacant for 12 months or more will only pay 50% rates for the first year of their occupation