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Covid-19 slices UK Golf Venues’ Business Rates into the Deep Rough

12.33pm 25th March 2020 - Coronavirus NewsManagement Topics

In this unprecedented time the UK Government has acted to assist many businesses with their business rates liabilities.

Following the previous relief granted to the retail sector, the Government has recently extended this to the leisure and hospitality sectors, including all types of golf venue, to give 100% relief from business rates for 12 months from 1 April this year.

Business rates are based on Rateable Values. The Chancellor’s initial response to Covid-19 came in the Budget on 11 March where he: i) extended the previous 50% business rates retail relief to 100%; and ii) also included leisure and hospitality venues.

However, the 100% rates relief was only available on properties where their Rateable Values were £51,000 or less. Most UK golf venues have Rateable Values higher than this.

On 17 March the Chancellor went a step further and removed the £51,000 threshold, so there is now no cap on the Rateable Value to qualify for the relief. The Government expects that EU State Aid rules, which potentially could have limited the relief, will be waived.

UK golf property specialist, Mark Smith of Smith Leisure, comments: “For most golf venues, business rates bills are typically in the range of £20,000 to £100,000 per year, so this is a welcome boost, as golf venues need help to protect their cashflow positions.

“I strongly believe that further cash savings, backdated to 1 April 2017, are available for most golf venues, if they take a proactive approach. Rateable Values are linked to property rental values, and after three years of battling to get business rates reduced for the UK golf sector, I have recently settled several valuation ‘test cases’ on fairly typical 18-hole golf clubs against the Valuation Office Agency (who set Rateable Values on behalf of HMRC). The smallest business rates saving was £23,900 and the largest was £44,400, so as well as having to pay no rates at all this year, these clubs are getting additional cash back in the coming weeks.

“Business rates seem to be getting increasing complex and confusing regarding procedural practices, changing reliefs and case law – plus the Government radically overhauled the appeal system from 1 April 2017 by introducing ‘Check Challenge Appeal’.

“For my golf venue ‘test cases’ I teamed up with Colliers Rating, who are part of the global real estate advisers, Colliers International to give weight to the cause. They have the UK’s largest team of chartered surveyors focussing on business rates and their expertise combined with my golf property expertise is beginning to pay off with the substantial savings made for golf venues.

“If any golf venue operators have any questions or concerns about Covid-19 and the effect on their business rates or are interested in challenging their Rateable Value to get further savings, then please do contact me or Simon Reay-Jones at Colliers Rating. We are here to help in these very challenging times.”

Contact Details:

Mark Smith

Mark Smith, Smith Leisure – / 07951 587303.

Simon Reay-Jones, Colliers Rating – / 01895 457721

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