The government has announced that estate agents and letting agencies that have closed as a result of the measures introduced to slow the spread of Covid-19 will now be exempted for business rates for a year from 1st April 2020.
The announcement comes after industry outrage for being excluded from the original tax relief programme. Businesses should expect a new bill from their local authority that will account for the 100% discount. Companies that have made payments in the meantime will be refunded in full.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak commented:
“We are determined to do whatever it takes to support businesses during Covid-19, which is why we have extended business rates relief for the high street.
Today, I am removing some of the exclusions for this relief, so that retail, leisure and hospitality properties that have closed as a result of the measures announced by the Prime Minister in his statement on Monday will now be eligible for the relief.
This will ensure that estate agents, letting agencies and bingo halls that are required to close will pay any business rates next year.
Eligible businesses will be rebilled by their local authority and the new will bill will give them the discount off 100%.
If businesses have made payments in the meantime, they will be refunded by their local authority. We are working with local authorities to ensure new bills are issued as soon as possible.’