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New properties - Business Rates

Information about new properties and completion notices

What is a completion notice?

A completion notice is a document that specifies the completion date for newly built properties. It is the date the property becomes a hereditament for Non-Domestic Rates purposes and is the date it is entered into the valuation list. This is the day on which the property becomes liable for business rates.

We'll serve a completion notice to you if you're an owner of:

  • a newly built property
  • an existing property that has been physically altered
  • a property previously removed from the rating list due to refurbishment or alteration

The completion notice will be issued when:

  • a building is considered to have been completed; or
  • The work remaining to be done can reasonably be expected to be complete by a date within three months

How we decide a completion date

The definition of 'complete' is not defined within business rates law.

However, with reference to case law, it's a property that is deemed structurally complete. A new building is considered structurally complete when:

  • The basic structure is complete
  • Internal walls are built, although not necessarily plastered
  • Floors are laid, although the screed or top coat of concrete need not have been laid

It may not need to be connected to utilities as long as the property is suitable for beneficial occupation of its intended use.

The criteria for determining completion for business rates purposes are different to that for Building Control Completion Certificates. So, whether building control certificates have been issued or not isn't directly relevant.

What if a property is complete but unoccupied?

From the completion date a three month exemption (or six months for qualifying industrial units) will be awarded provided the property remains unoccupied. After the exemption has expired, full ‘empty’ rates will become due.

The following properties will continue to be exempt if the:

  • property has a rateable value of £2,899 or less
  • owner is prohibited by law from occupying it or allowing it to be used
  • property is vacant due to action from Crown or local authority with a view to prohibiting the use of it
  • building is a listed building or if the whole of it is under a building preservation notice
  • owner is only a personal representative of a deceased person, or as a liquidator

What if a property is not complete by the date on the completion notice?

If a completion notice is served in advance using an agreed date or because it is reasonable to expect it to complete on a date within three months, it will be registered from the date of the completion notice. From this date it will be treated as a complete but unoccupied property as above.

Occupied new builds

Newly built and occupied properties do not require us to issue a completion notice. The date used to register the property for the Non-Domestic Rates list is the date of occupation.

If an occupant moves into a property prior to the date on an issued completion notice this will supersede the completion notice. The occupier will be liable for Non-Domestic Rates from the date of occupation.

What if I disagree with the completion notice?

You can appeal the completion notice by contacting us. You'll still be liable from the date specified on the completion notice while you're waiting to hear about your appeal.

If we can't reach an agreement with you, you have the right of appeal to the independent Valuation Tribunal. You must make this within 28 days of receiving the notice.

Contact details for the Valuation Tribunal

VTS, 3rd Floor Crossgate House, Wood Street, Doncaster, Yorkshire, DN1 3LL

Tel: 0300 123 2035

Alternatively you can email the Valuation Tribunal or visit the Valuation Tribunal website.