By Altus Group | February 11, 2018

The Winter Olympics have begun, with Great Britain targeting a record medals haul at PyeongChang 2018, but how has last April’s tax shake up affected some of the facilities used by our Olympians?

Fenton’s curling rink near Tunbridge Wells, England’s only rink dedicated to curling and home to England men’s and women’s curling teams, has benefited from the business rates reform announced at last Spring’s Budget.

Under the first revaluation of business rates in 7 years, the rink saw its Rateable Value increase from £7,000 to £17,000,up 143%, meaning the facility was no longer eligible for tapered small business rates relief.

Fenton’s was one of 24,986 firms, according to real estate advisory Altus Group, who had lost all or part of their small business rates relief and were left on a “cliff edge”. Its rates bill was set to rise, under the revaluation, from £564.67 to £3,628.55 in the 2017/18 tax year, but for the Government’s £115million relief fund, which capped the increase at £600.

Whilst most skiing pros were raised in Alpine countries, or Scandinavia or North America, Britain’s Dave Ryding first found his skiing legs on the dry, plastic slope in Pendle, another facility to benefit from the Chancellor’s reforms. Its new Rateable Value fell 12% to £8,800 and now comes within the increased threshold of £12,000 for 100% exemption from rates through small business rates relief.

The slope at Pendle is owned, and run completely by volunteers. As a Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC), Pendle Ski Club is entitled to a number of charity-type tax reliefs to support local sports clubs, such as 80% business rates relief. Further discretionary relief from certain councils is available on top.

Faring differently is the National Ice Centre in Nottingham, which has two Olympic sized rinks. The centre, where the legendary Olympic ice dance champions, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, trained and now the training facility of the GB Short Track Speed Skating Squad, saw its Rateable Value increase 60% from £450,000 to £720,000. Its rates bill went from £233,650 to £324,822, a tax hike of £91,172 or 39%.

Overall, a detailed analysis of Official Government data by Altus Group shows that the 34 ski centres and 31 ice rinks across England and Wales saw their Rateable Values (used to determine business rates bills) increase overall by 8.77% and 7.86% respectively.

Alex Probyn, president of UK business rates, at real estate advisor Altus Group said: “Revaluations always create winners and losers but the CASC registration benefits, coupled with the changes made by the Chancellor last Spring, undoubtedly help the smallest of facilities.”

“Generally with these types of facilities, valuations used for tax are on a contractor’s basis, using the cost to rebuild. With so few new facilities and so little comparable evidence available, there are usually strong grounds for a meritorious appeal.”


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