Non-domestic or business rates are the way in which businesses and other occupiers of non-domestic properties contribute towards the cost of their local authority services.

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is responsible for assessing all businesses and non-domestic properties throughout England and Wales, giving each premise a Rateable Value. Rateable Value is a key factor in the calculation of business rates but is not what you actually pay.

Essentially, the Rateable Value is a figure based on the annual rent for a property, if it was available to let on the open market on a set date. All current Rateable Values are based on rental figures from the valuation date of 1st April 2015.

Local councils use the Rateable Value in conjunction with a factor called the multiplier. The multiplier is used to calculate the basic business rates liability for each property, before applying any necessary discounts or reliefs. Local councils are responsible for sending out the bills and collecting the rates payable.

The multiplier, also known as the Uniform Business Rate (UBR) is set annually by Communities and Local Governments in England and the Welsh Assembly Government in Wales. This determines the percentage (expressed also as pence on the pound) of the Rateable Value of your property, that you will pay in business rates.

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