Northern Ireland

Rates revaluation report on NI business premises

Cash Image copyright PA
Image caption The last revaluation took place in Northern Ireland in 2003 and was based on 1 April 2001 rental values

Many retailers in central Belfast and in Northern Ireland's towns are likely to have their rates bills cut after a revaluation exercise.

All 73,000 non-domestic properties, including shops, offices and factories, have been officially revalued for the first time since 2001.

Rates bills are based on those valuations.

Those properties that have become relatively less valuable will now attract lower rates.

Some shops on Donegall Place, traditionally Belfast's main shopping street could see bills halved.

The rateable value of a business property is worked out using its Net Annual Value (NAV).

NAV is an assessment of the annual rental value that the property could reasonably be let for at a fixed point in time.

The NAV is then multiplied by the 'rate in the pound' to produce the annual bill.

As an example, the NAV of 14 Donegall Place, which is occupied by JD Sports, is down from £277,500 to £127,000 a fall of 54%.

Actual rates bills will not be clear until February 2015 when Stormont and the councils set the 'rate in the pound'.

Those facing higher bills will include large supermarkets with rateable values up by 40%.

Out of town and edge of town retail parks, such as Boucher Road in Belfast, are also likely to face increases of at least 18%.

It is a mixed picture for the pub trade, almost half of pubs will see a fall in rateable values but those in the most popular areas, such as Belfast's Cathedral Quarter, will see a rise.

One pub, thus far unidentified, has seen its rateable value increase sevenfold.

Others businesses facing higher bills include the operators of large windfarms and NIE, the electricity infrastructure firm.

The revaluation of NIE's assets could see its rates bill rise from an estimated £16m to an estimated £22m.

Finance Minister Simon Hamilton has emphasised that the revaluation exercise is revenue neutral.

He said: "The executive and new councils will not raise any more money because of the revaluation.

"However the amount raised will be redistributed between non-domestic ratepayers on a fairer basis using modern rental values."

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