Imperial War Museums loses business rates appeal

Increased valuation will cost £117,000 over four years
Jonathan Knott
Imperial War Museums (IWM) has lost an appeal over the level of business rates it is required to pay on an archive facility.

The organisation must now pay about £30,000 more each year in business rates from 2013 onwards, adding up to £117,000 by the end of 2016-17.

Business rates for a property are calculated using a rateable valuation set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). The museum’s archive in Saffron Walden, used to store films, was given a rateable valuation of £27,000 in 2010. In 2013 the VOA increased this to £325,000.

The new valuation, 12 times larger than the previous one, arose because the VOA changed its method from a rental basis to a contractor’s basis, which is based on the estimated rebuilding cost.

The rate is calculated using a multiplier set by the government – currently 0.493 – and then making any deductions. As a charity, the IWM is eligible for an 80% business rate reduction, so its payable amount for 2015-16 is £32,045 – about £29,000 higher than it would have been using the previous rateable valuation.

Following the reassessment in 2013, an appeal was lodged with the VOA on behalf of the IWM by CVS, a company that provides advice on reducing business rates. CVS appealed the valuation in 2010, but then withdrew this following an inspection. The company appealed again after the revaluation in 2013. The appeal was considered by the Valuation Tribunal in November and dismissed.

A spokeswoman for IWM said: “IWM engaged CVS to represent the organisation at an appeal hearing in relation to one of the properties IWM uses for storage. This was on a no-win, no fee basis. CVS have been very successful in other appeals across the IWM estate in the past."

IWM added that there would not be an appeal against the tribunal’s decision.

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