Business rates are a significant cost to businesses, and are expected to be an increasingly notable cost to museums over the next few years. AIM’s new Success Guide will help museums understand how to keep the costs down.
Successfully Negotiating Business Rates has been written by Colin Hunter of Storey Edward Symons, a specialist in advice on all aspects of property and business assets. Colin has written several articles for AIM Bulletin on business rates over a number of years, and represented a number of independent museums at appeals. Business rates are “surrounded by myths and legends”, he says but in essence it is simply a property tax. The guide begins by explaining the basics of valuations and reliefs, before moving on to how museums in particular are valued for rating and rights of appeal.
Three case studies report how some museums have been successful in challenging their valuations. The political background to the current situation, notably the Localism Act 2011, is covered, followed by a section on empty properties, and with the majority of the guide written with England in mind, a comparison with the situation in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
AIM’s new Success Guides replace the Focus Papers, they are free and you can download them as pdfs from AIM’s website at http://www.aim-museums.co.uk/content/success_guides/. All freshly written or updated, most have been funded by ACE (Arts Council England) through AIM’s Resilience programme.