Small businesses have been asked by councils to pay significantly inaccurate business rate bills. This is with the promise of being reimbursed later on.

Rates have risen by as much as £3,110 for some businesses, and owners were told to pay up or face a hefty fine. Speaking back in March, an unnamed local authority source described the circumstances as “a mess, for councils and businesses”.

Why have small businesses been asked to pay too much?

The problem stems from the political fallout that arose following the first revaluation of business rates for seven years.

Small businesses were promised a proportionate share of a £435m relief fund designed to lessen the impact for those worst affected. But, this only came into force on 1 April – after the deadline for submission of business rate payments.

The local authority source continued: “The help came too late to get it sorted for the new tax year. Either businesses will pay too much and get their money back later, or councils will delay billing and won’t get their money in April.”

Business rate increases for small businesses who’ve previously paid nothing or very little have been capped at £600.

How can small business owners check they’re being accurately reimbursed?

To make sure you’re being reimbursed accurately, use advanced accountancy software like FreeAgent or Xero to comprehensively log all of your business’s finance information.

Then, work with a specialist small business accountant. They’ll double-check that everything’s properly aligned and advise you on any issues that may arise.

Call on 3 Wise Bears for more small business accounting insight.