GP Surveyors receive many queries concerning just how business rates for GP surgeries work, so we’ve put together this handy guide for your surgery.
GP business rates, the facts:
- GP surgeries’ business rates are normally paid by practices and then reimbursed by NHS England. Therefore, you need to make sure that your surgery is being reimbursed for the correct amount.
- It’s the responsibility of the Valuation Office Agency to ensure that your surgeries’ business rates are at the correct level. However, you may sometimes receive calls from independent companies offering to challenge your business rates on your behalf. It’s important to be aware that signing up for such a service provides no financial benefit to your surgery, given that your rates are reimbursed by NHS England. In fact, you could be left out of pocket because many of these companies will charge a fee if they successfully reduce your rates.
- On occasion, NHS England may approach your surgery for permission to challenge your business rates if they believe they are too high. It’s important to know that you are under no obligation to agree to a challenge of your rates. In fact, health boards and area teams need practices’ permission to challenge.
- Challenging surgeries’ business rates will provide obvious benefits to NHS England as the amount that it needs to reimburse will be reduced. However, reducing your business rates could have a knock-on impact on your notional rent reimbursement.
- Agreeing to a challenge of your surgeries’ business rates can affect your notional rent reimbursement because both business rates and notional rent are determined by a Valuation Office Agency or District Valuer, based on the quality and size of a building, and the type of area that it is located. Therefore, when a surveyor is calculating the notional rent they will look at the business rate calculations and vice versa. This means that a reduction in business rates could be used by the District Valuer to support a reduction in your surgeries’ notional rent too.
In summary, it is important to note that no one can appeal your surgeries’ business rates unless you give them written consent to do so. We would recommend that your surgery does not agree to a business rate appeal and to remember that your practice is under no obligation to undertake such a review.