Senior Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem MPs are voicing their opposition to the ‘staircase tax’. The tax refers to backdated business rates bills currently being delivered to small businesses that use communal stairwells, walkways or lifts.
In the past, firms would receive one business rates bill covering all occupied space. Following the Woolway v Mazars Supreme Court ruling, the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is now allocating different bills for individual floors and workspaces. This means substantial bill increases for small firms, resulting in many losing small business rates relief.
Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Business (FSB), said: “The staircase tax adds another element of chaos to a business rates system in disarray. Cross party support from Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem MPs to sort it out is hugely welcome. Time after time, Government is failing to reform an outdated, regressive business rates system.
“Backdating a tax businesses didn’t even know they were liable for is the worst kind of anti-business action, making the UK look like a hostile place to invest at a time of unprecedented uncertainty. The VOA is hitting small firms with backdated bills despite the Supreme Court ordering them to exercise “common sense” – it’s an absolute scandal.
“Tens of thousands of businesses will be affected – the Cabinet should recognise the problem, get a grip and sort it out.”