The following Restructuring & Insolvency practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
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Business rates are a tax on property used for business purposes. They are charged on most non-domestic properties, such as shops, offices and pubs.
Business rates are also payable if you use part of a building for non-domestic purposes. For further reading on business rates generally, see:
Practice Note: Liability for business rates
In an insolvency context, the occupier of a property is liable to pay business rates.
For a company to be rateable as an occupier, it must be in ‘actual possession’ and have a ‘sufficient measure of control to prevent strangers from interfering’. A company in an insolvency process may be considered to be in occupation depending on the actions of the officeholder—for example, it may be trading from the business while looking for a buyer.
For further reading on what constitutes occupation, see Practice Note: Liability for business rates.
A de minimis principle may sometimes be applied (see Wirral Borough Council v Lane). Plant and machinery may be ignored (see LGFA 1988, s 65(5) and Sheafbank Property Trust plc v Sheffield Metropolitan
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