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Business rate 'avoidance' in Aylesbury Vale costing up to £200k

But that is a small percentage of the amount brought in for the government and our councils.

Published by Dan Gooding at 5:46am 23rd January 2020. (Updated at 6:58am 23rd January 2020) 3-minute read.

Business rate 'avoidance' in Aylesbury Vale costing up to £200k

Empty shops are a big talking point in Aylesbury, just like many towns across the country.

So what's being done to help?

Whenever we report on a shop closing down, many comments include business rates being too high.

Last year in Aylesbury Vale, £54 million was collected in rates.

Around half of that goes to the government, while the rest stays here.

But AVDC do have the power to try and help.

Gary Wright is the Business Rates and Recovery Manager there:

"There are a lot of discounts.

"The government, last April, introduced a retail discount, which is a just over 33% discount in bills.

"Also, properties which have a rateable value of less than £12,000 get a 100% business rate relief."

AVDC Business Rates 2018/19

They have lost between £150,000 and £200,000 when it comes to businesses avoiding paying their bill, usually offices and industrial units.

Gary told us they're trying to tackle this, to stop council tax payers footing the bill:

"We are collecting this money on behalf of the government and we have to pay it over whether we collect it or not.

"So the financial implications of us not collecting business rates in is that our council tax payers have to cover whatever is outstanding there."

But Gary also told us that the council is here to help, not to hinder, small businesses.

"We do try to engage with businesses as much as possible and make longer-term payments plans or base it on their ability to pay, etc.

"We make sure that we ask that question of a business registered: 'Do you qualify for small business rate relief? Is it a retail business?' etc. so we can apply those straight away."

The council's message to businesses who feel they're struggling is to talk to them ASAP, so they can help with payment plans and discounts.

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