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Non-domestic background

Consultation on a proposal for a draft Order in Council  - The Rates (Capital Values, Etc.) (Northern Ireland) Order 2005

The draft Rates (Capital Values, etc.) (Northern Ireland) Order 2005 was published for consultation in October 2005.  In terms of non–domestic reform it provided for full rate exemption for community halls, subject to certain criteria, and an increase in the level of sport and recreation relief from 65% to 80%. This gives effect to the policy decisions outlined in the consultation on Non-Domestic Charitable Exemptions and Reliefs from Rate Liability in Northern Ireland.

The draft Order was laid at Parliament on 26 January 2006 and came into operation on  1 April 2006.  

Consultation on Rate Reliefs for Business in Northern Ireland (2005)

In March 2005, the Government published a policy paper (and an associated Initial Integrated Impact Assessment) on Rate Reliefs for Business in Northern Ireland setting out proposals for a wide range of exemptions and reliefs, mostly affecting the rural and equine sectors. The proposals included, among other things, the need for:

  • small business rate relief;
  • farm diversification relief;
  • relief for stud farms;
  • relief for AutomaticTelling Machines (ATMs) in rural areas; and
  • relief for quarry operators who undertake environmental improvement works.

A consultation report issued in April 2006 indicated that, apart from small business rate relief and relief for stud farms the above proposals would be contained in legislation.

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Consultation on Non-Domestic Charitable Exemptions and Reliefs from Rate Liability in Northern Ireland (2005)

A policy paper was published for consultation in February 2005 (and an associated Initial Integrated Impact Assessment) containing the Governments policy proposals on charitable exemptions and reliefs. This included, among other things:

  • an increase in the level of sport and recreation relief from 65% to 80%,
  • full exemption for community halls (subject to certain criteria); and
  • relief for  domestic property occupied by ministers of religion.

Subsequent to this, the Government published its consultation report in October 2005 setting out its decision to proceed with these proposals through legislation.

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Consultation on Hardship Rate Relief for the Non-Domestic Sector (2004)

During the legislation stages of the Rates (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 2004, the Government decided to introduce a Hardship Relief Scheme for non-domestic property. The legislative proposals also provided for Regulations to allow the Department the discretion to reduce or remit rates in exceptional circumstances where hardship would otherwise result.

The purpose of Hardship Relief is to assist a business recover from temporary crisis, financial or otherwise, as a result of exceptional circumstances. A crisis may be defined by the loss of trade resulting directly from the exceptional circumstances or the impact on business service provision resulting from exceptional circumstances. The Government published a consultation paper setting out its proposals for Hardship Relief in June 2004.

The Hardship Relief Scheme came into operation on 31 December 2005.

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Consultation on a proposal for a draft Order in Council  - The Rates (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 2003

The Government published in October 2003 its proposals to introduce vacant rating from 1 April 2004 and to begin the phasing out of industrial derating from 1 April 2005.  Having taken account of the views during this consultation, it decided to proceed with this legislation.

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Consultation paper on industrial derating and vacant rating (2003)

The Government set out its proposals for the removal of industrial derating and the introduction of unoccupied non-domestic property in a policy paper that was published for consultation in April 2003. The proposals included the phasing out of industrial derating from 1 April 2005 with full rates not being liable until 1 April 2011 and the payment of rates at 50% of the full rate assessment on unoccupied non-domestic property from 1 April 2004.  

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Consultation paper on the Review of Rating Policy (2002)

The then Northern Ireland Executive published a consultation paper in May 2002 that set out the options for change in respect of the method of valuation, the basis of liability and consideration of existing and potential exemptions and reliefs.  

A first findings report was published in October 2002, after the suspension of Devolution, that provided an initial analysis of the consultation responses. Following that report, the Government announced in December 2002 that it intended to introduce the removal of industrial derating and the rating of unoccupied non-domestic property.

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