Changes to business rates announced in the 2016 budget are set to come into force in April 2017 but many business owners still don't know about the new rules.
A recent survey conducted by surveyor CVS has found that 36% of business owners are "unfamiliar or unaware" about the changes to the business rates system. And three in ten say that changes to business rates won't improve the health of Britain's high streets.
In the last Budget, George Osborne announced that from April 2017, businesses whose properties have a rateable value of up to £12,000 will not have to pay business rates at all, up from the current threshold of £6,000. In addition, properties with a rateable value of between £12,000 and £15,000 will receive tapered relief.
Mark Rigby, CVS chief executive, said: "For many small firms, it will mean smaller overheads, less administration and an overall cost saving of as much as £5,900 in some cases. This is money that could be reinvested back into the business."
However, business rates will also be affected by the next business rates revaluation in April 2017.
"When the next revaluation comes into force, some businesses will move outside of the £12,000 threshold for rates relief, and some will fall within it. This largely depends on the specific nature of your property and where in the country it is located," Rigby said.
"Business rates are currently based on rent levels assessed in 2008. So where rental levels have fallen since this time - such as for retail property in Northern England - business rates will also fall. Where rental levels have increased - such as in London and the South East in particular - business rates are likely to go up."
The Valuation Office Agency will publish its draft new values for each property on 1 October 2016 for consultation with local billing authorities.
Rigby said: "The Valuation Office Agency … will often request information from a business owner via a 'form of return'. However, because there are so many properties to evaluate - some 1.8 million - it's easy for the Valuation Office to make mistakes in this process. Every ratepayer has the right to challenge their business rates bill at any time between revaluations. There is only one opportunity to do this however."