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News Archive

December 2015

Rates Revaluation

The 2017 Rates Revaluation forms are starting to hit the doormats

For those new to self-catering, this is a very detailed and personal form to have to complete, and comes as a shock to many.

The unfriendly 14 day deadline is in place due to the Lands Valuation (Scotland) Act 1854.   Your Assessor knows that this is a challenge for us to meet, so a note back to the Assessor saying that the forms will be returned would be helpful.

By law, the Assessors have to arrive at rateable values for self-catering businesses.   Normally, Assessors look at the rent which businesses pay for their premises, but self-catering units, unlike shops and factories, just do not have a sufficient amount of let subjects, so the Assessors have to seek a typical income and expenditure pattern for our sector.   Given that investments can come in large chunks, they ask for three years of figures so as to iron out troughs and peaks.

In an industry sector which has a mix of lifestyle businesses with the more commercial, the Assessors ask about Quality Grading and ASSC membership as a guide to where a business sits.   Assessors tell us that they are genuinely seeking middle ground, and there is no question of high achievers being penalised.   Rateable Values are set per bed space to a formula agreed with ASSC.

Your proposed 2017 Rateable Value will be notified to you by your local Assessor, and can also be found on the Assessors’ portal at www.saa.gov.uk where the rateable value (and Council Tax banding) of any property in Scotland may be found by simply by putting in a postcode.

ASSC Members are advised to check their new valuations against those of other similar establishments and to tell the Assessor, and the ASSC, if there appears to be a big discrepancy in values. Default acceptance can raise the overall ‘tone’ of the Roll and make it more difficult for unfair valuations to be adjusted, so it is important to appeal any ‘out of line’ Revaluation Notices within six months.

ASSC has been working closely with the Assessors for many years, and it is significant that few self-catering businesses had to make an appeal before the Valuation Appeal Committee for the 2010 revaluation.   Hopefully, things will go smoothly for 2017.

There is more detail on the Council Tax and Rates Guidance Sheet, including information about the Small Business Bonus Scheme. Access to Guidance Sheets is exclusive to Members of the ASSC.  Join now!

Revaluation Forms Completing Section F

Are you letting the Assessors know what it really takes to run a self-catering business?

When you fill in Rates Revaluation Form ‘Section F’ consider putting some or all of the following, amending where appropriate:

Not included as paid expenses in our annual accounts is all the work carried out to operate the business which is fulfilled by the owners/partners.  This includes:

  • Cleaning and other duties for each and every changeover between lets – X people x X hours per changeover (approx XXX person-hours per year).
  • Travel time – X hours per changeover (approx XX person-hours per year)
  • Labour hours carrying out maintenance, redecorating, refurbishment and repairs.  At least XXX hours per year, and often many more.
  • Administration, book-keeping, marketing, bookings management, social media, website development etc.  i.e. All the ‘background work’ for a successful business – at least XXX hours per year, and often many more.
  • Industry engagement, continuous professional development, training, conferences etc – at least XX hours per year.

October 2015

Scottish Tourism Alliance Launches an Appeal to Support the Refugee Crisis

The STA has pledged to help provide aid to refugees in Europe and has co-ordinated an appeal on behalf of the tourism industry in Scotland.
 
They’ve called it #onehourspay and are asking that you donate one hour of your salary to the Scottish Refugee Council (via the STA’s JustGiving page), an independent charity helping refugees and asylum seekers across Scotland.
You can donate anonymously if you wish and you can donate whatever feels right.
 
1.  Visit the STA JustGiving page and donate whatever you can. 
2.  Send this link to anyone you know that might want to help, and invite them to donate – OneHoursPay.
3.  If you’re on Twitter, please share the message (and follow and RT at @ST_Alliance).
 
Our industry has a great reputation for coming together to support worthy causes and make a collective difference. 
By supporting this campaign, we can do something outstandingly special and help to transform the lives of hundreds of people facing a pretty bleak future.
 
The appeal will end on 31 October. 

August 2015

Season to Date Survey

The ASSC has the single largest source of information on the self-catering industry in Scotland and the bi-annual Season to Date survey is intended to monitor any changes in the trends and patterns experienced by Members. It is an important benchmark of the performance of the self-catering sector which Members can use to assist with future marketing and development. The results also help to inform the ASSC when representing the sector within Scottish tourism and deciding on future strategy and action on behalf of Members.

The July 2015 Season to Date Survey is now live for Members to complete. We will report back on findings.

If you’d like to get involved, and add your knowledge,  join the ASSC now!

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