Firms risk missing out on £200m of backdated small business rate relief as many local councils have failed to provide owners with adequate information on the scheme, warns property specialist LeaseholdersUnited.
Small businesses in England which occupied commercial premises between 1 April 2007 and April 2010 have until 30 September to make a claim for backdated business rate relief, which LeaseholdersUnited claims is worth "at least" £200m.
Similar business rate relief schemes operate in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Andrew Bacon, of LeaseholdersUnited and a property adviser for the Forum of Private Business, says many business owners were unaware they could claim the relief after many local councils failed to provide details, publish accurate information or provide up-to-date claim forms.
Bacon says small businesses will be able to claim up to £5,000 each in rate relief, while after 1 October it will be limited to £2,000 as small business rate relief will increase in England.
He says: "Unfortunately, most councils are saying nothing about the issue and many are handing out forms that actually stop businesses backdating their claim. This is something we first highlighted back in 2008 and, despite assurances that it would be tackled, the problem persists.
"Time is running out so it is important to act now. The simple solution is for every business to send in the correct claim form before 30 September 2010. Those who are not eligible will simply be rejected but those that are eligible will get the money they deserve."
LeaseholdersUnited has set up a website where small businesses can download claim forms for free.
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