ONE of the country’s most prestigious department stores has warned that jobs may be put at risk after it was hit with a 47pc hike in its annual commercial rates bill.
Brown Thomas expects to pay €1.14m to Dublin City Council next year, a €400,000 increase on 2013, under a new system of calculating rates being undertaken by the Valuation Office. The higher bill is because this is the first time rental values have been calculated since 1988.
Commercial rates are a property-based tax levied by local authorities on occupiers of properties including shops, factories, pubs and offices.
The system for calculating the amount payable is based on a number of factors, but primarily the annual rental value of the property.
A spokesman for the Valuation Office said updated valuations had already been carried out in Fingal, South Dublin and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown and that there were “winners and losers” in the process.
“The valuation is based on the annual rental valuation, meaning if it was put up for rent, what would it fetch? It’s based on rents in 2011, when the valuation order was signed,” he said.
“About 23,000 commercial ratepayers were issued with proposed valuation certificates. They have a statutory right to make representations (appeals) to us within 28 days.
“There’s a misconception that the local authorities are going to make a big killing on this but that’s not the case.
“There’s a provision in the Valuation Act which provides for a capping on the rates in the year following revaluation.
“The local authority cannot increase the total amount it collects in rates for a year after valuation.”
In South Dublin, he added, 49pc of businesses received lower bills and there was no change for 12pc. In Fingal, 65pc had a reduced rates liability while in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, the number was 54pc.
But Brown Thomas managing director Stephen Sealey told the Irish Independent that increases could result in job losses and that many local business would not be in a position to afford higher bills.