The ‘staircase tax’ is an increase in business rates suffered by businesses who occupy two or more sections of a shared building. Each section must be treated as a separate rateable unit if it is not possible to move between the sections without entering a common area (such as a staircase or corridor).
Philip Hammond has now promised to change the law to eliminate the staircase anomaly and to refund businesses any extra rates they have had to pay since the ‘staircase tax’ was applied.
From April 2018 the annual increase in rateable values will be based on the consumer price index (CPI), rather than the RPI, which tends to produce a higher measure of inflation. Also, revaluations for business properties will be undertaken every three years instead of every five, reducing the incidence of steep increases in business rates.