Consultation on Northern Ireland’s Non-Domestic Rating System

January 21, 2016

A discussion document on the matter of the Non-Domestic Rating system has been published to seek views on the future direction of business rates within Northern Ireland.  The review also seeks views on alternative forms of business taxation as either replacements or supplements to the current rating system.

By way of background, business rates are a tax based on property values and help fund public services within Northern Ireland.  Business rates are levied on the occupier and in the case of vacant property they are levied at a lower rate on the person entitled to possession (usually the owner). Gross liability (before any reliefs) is assessed in direct proportion to a property’s rental value (also known as Net Annual Value or “NAV”).   From 1 April 2015 values are based on a statutory definition of the rental value of a property as at 1 April 2013 (known as the “antecedent valuation date” or AVD). A rental value is then assessed for every rateable non domestic property in Northern Ireland whether it is owner occupied, rented or vacant.

A copy of the discussion document is available from https://www.dfpni.gov.uk/consultations/review-northern-irelands-non-domestic-rating-system. The formal consultation will end on 25 January 2016 and the results of the consultation exercise will be analyzed and shared with the Finance Minister and the Committee for Finance and Personnel.  Decisions will then be reached on the way forward by the Northern Ireland Executive.