Farmers and landowners could face higher rates bills just by making minor changes to their businesses, valuers have warned.
Even a “small and sensible” change to a business use may render land that was previously exempt, liable for business rates, said Jeremy Moody, secretary at the Central Association of Agricultural Advisers.
He said: “Not every acre of farmland is necessarily agriculturally exempt and more importantly, by no means is every farm building an agricultural building for rates.”
The definitions covering agricultural exemption from business rates are complicated and could easily catch farmers out, Mr Moody said.
“As councils now benefit more from business rate revenue they are increasingly clamping down on grey areas, so it’s important to stay ahead of the game,” he added.
“Any land or property deemed as having dual usage will become liable for business rates. Solar, wind and hydro are also facing large increases in rates. If the power is all used in the farm it may be exempt but if more than five per cent goes into another business it may be rateable.”