Search

Borough tops count of firms hauled before courts over business tax ‘burden’

PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 July 2018 | UPDATED: 07:30 26 July 2018

Tower Hamlets Council spent £27,000 on cars, according to the TaxPayers' Alliance. Picture: Mike Brooke

Tower Hamlets Council spent £27,000 on cars, according to the TaxPayers' Alliance. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Almost 3,000 businesses in the borough were taken to court for failing to pay business rates – the highest in the capital, figures reveal.

An investigation by real estate advisor Altus Group showed that Tower Hamlets Council in the last financial year hauled 2,876 firms before magistrates to recover the tax.

The figures – gained through a freedom of information request sent to all London councils and replied to by 25 – compare to second place Islington (2,631), third place Hackney (2,282) and Sutton’s low of 403.

National government works out business rates based on a property’s ‘rateable value’ meaning its rental value on the open market. They are updated every five years.

Altus Group’s Robert Hayton said the findings went beyond simple tax avoidance.

“London was the hardest hit of any region under last year’s revaluation. It is therefore unsurprising that the level of summons being issued by councils in London was far higher than the average for England.”

In Tower Hamlets there were 13,664 properties liable to pay between April 2017 and March 2018 with a fifth taken to court, according to Altus Group.

The numbers led the advisor to claim new business rates – re-calculated last year – were criminalising firms struggling to cope with an ever increasing tax burden.

A council spokesman said: “We have one of the largest numbers of ratepayers in London and the vast majority pay in full and on time.”

He added that the councils listed in Altus Group’s report called to court on average 17.31pc of businesses who failed to pay.

The council summonsed 2,876 businesses out of 16,220 last year meaning they were only just slightly above average at 17.73pc, the spokesman confirmed.

It has seen a rise in recent years in the number of organisations required to pay, but the spokesman said that at the same time court actions have dropped.

“The council is well aware of the challenges some ratepayers face and so where court action is taken, we often make extended payment arrangements and ensure all possible payment reliefs are awarded to minimise the burden,” he said. The council said it has limited enforcement with 1,205 cases in 2013/14 falling to 469 last year.

Latest East London News Stories

Yesterday, 17:41

Parents fighting the closure of three council-run nurseries and a specialist deaf unit in the borough have been “thrown a lifeline” by councillors.

Yesterday, 16:10

New City College closed its six campuses for a day to take part in a march in Westminster.

Yesterday, 11:43

A shop in Limehouse accused of selling laughing gas to children as young as 14 has lost its licence to sell alcohol.

Yesterday, 09:49

Tower Hamlets Council will receive extra funding from the government to help ease winter pressures on the NHS.

Wed, 12:19

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets has announced a package of ‘tackling poverty innovation grants’ worth £200,000 for new programmes by community and voluntary groups in the borough.

Wed, 08:53

Commuters are facing severe delays on the Jubilee line this morning following a signal failure.

Wed, 07:57

A woman had her phone and cash stolen after being duped into letting someone into her home.

Tue, 16:58

A Bangla music festival has released details of its lineup.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Are you a landlord looking for a fixed rental income, paid whether the property is empty or not? Steve Westley, general manager at estate agents Elliot Leigh, explains their Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it takes the stress out of letting your property.

Newsletter Sign Up

East London Advertiser twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now