Business Rates freedom of information requests
In the past we've received a number of requests for similar information relating to Cheshire East Business Rates (Non-Domestic Rates). For this reason, we now publish reports each April, July, October and January on the following:
- all non-domestic properties within Cheshire East and their rateable values including relief and exemption
- combined amount of credits written on
- combined amount of accounts in credit
We no longer respond individually to any requests for information on these topics.
More information about the reports follows. As you look at the reports, it's important to understand the limitations to the data.
Limitations on data
We only give names and correspondence addresses where the ratepayer is a limited company, government body or formal organisation. Where ratepayers are individuals, for example sole traders, we keep their personal details private.
Business Rates records show:
- who is liable to pay the charge, not who owns the property - the ratepayer might be either a leaseholder, an occupier, or the owner
- the correspondence address is the last contact address on the business rates record
- account references aren't included, because we use them to check a ratepayer is actually the account holder when they contact the Council
- the information is a snapshot taken on the day we created the report
- information covers the current financial year (01 April - 31 March), unless we note otherwise under the report heading.
Link to all Business Rates FOI reports.
Non-domestic properties and rateable values
On this list you can see details of all properties subject to business rates and the rateable value of each. This report includes details of reliefs or exemption.
Credits written on
When someone no longer liable for business rates leaves an account in credit, we normally refund the credit back to them. But if we don't know where they have gone, we might 'write on' the credit in order to put the balance on the account to zero. Sometimes we'll also write on credits of less than £10 where the ratepayer doesn't specifically ask for a refund, because of the cost of raising a cheque.
Accounts in credit
Accounts can be in credit for a number of reasons, including following a revaluation that decreases the rateable value. Where there is a credit showing when we run the annual bill, we'll automatically offset the amount against the new balance.
We update accounts daily, so accounts might have corresponding debits.
The Council now publishes the combined amount of business rate credits written on and credits, rather than individual business rates accounts with credit balances.
Information in respect of individual business rates credit balances is exempt under section 31(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (prevention or detection of crime). The Council holds this information but believes that its disclosure could result in fraudulent refund claims being made to the Council for these credit balances.
This follows a decision of the Information Commission dated 4 October 2017 in respect of a request made of London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham in respect of a request for NNDR credit balances.
Engaging section 31 requires a public interest test to be considered. There is a general public interest in in increasing openness and transparency in relation to the Council’s collection of taxes and the management of finances. However, this could be largely met by the releasing the combined amount of business rate credits which does not identify individual accounts. On this basis, the Council feels that the public interest in disclosing the information requested is outweighed by the public interest in preventing the risk of fraudulent claims being made.
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