View Full Version : Business Rates
03-04-2009, 09:35 AM
Are craft people expected to pay business rates? I have been forced out of selling my crafts via my website and on Ebay etc because of all the rules. I am now basically making things for pleasure and do not take orders. I just take my items to a London salerooom twice a year and they sell them for me. I do have a dedicated working area at home (spare bedroom), but it is only a table with a magnifying lamp and two mains sockets on it. Now I am getting people hinting I should pay business rates - Is Britain so regulated that one can't enjoy a hobby anymore without having to pay for the privilege?
03-04-2009, 09:41 AM
I would have thought not, if you are only doing it for a hobby? If you are running a legitimate business from your premises then that might be different.
03-04-2009, 09:52 AM
Yes, but you know how intolerant these rules are. They say that the moment you make anything to sell, or buy anything to sell, you are a business. When I make things, I have every intention of selling them because I don't have the space to keep them. I declare them for tax and pay accordingly. But I feel I can't stop making things because I really enjoy it, I have been making things for well over 55 years. But if I get lumbered with Business Rates as well as income tax, I will make a loss. Then in the event of spending all my capital, I would end up on benefits! One can't ask anyone in authority, because as soon as you do, you have "blown your cover!"
03-04-2009, 10:11 AM
You should be OK. I was told you can run an office from your home, no probs, you can have a whole room you sew in, no probs, my friends turn their sheds and garages into woodworking and pottery workshops, no problems - their home stays domestic. They all sell at fairs, as do I. If you start to have hoards of customers beating a path to your door then the council (and your neighbours) have a right to get worried and start to think of you turning your domestic house into a business premise.
I think we've all kept our heads down but some people on this forum have talked things through with the council and they were not interested unless their houses became a real 'shop'.
03-04-2009, 10:34 AM
I believe that business rates apply only if you use a part of your house/a room solely for business purposes i.e. you have a room fitted for business and do nothing else in there. I am sitting in my office now, which is also a dining room and my husband and his sister have been doing some office work in here as well and if I clear a space we can have a meal here, my ironing board in in the corner - so not used solely for business. If you turned the garage into a workshop and used it solely for your craft/trade and sold from there, then I think business rates would apply (on the garage). But that is only my own understanding - not a qualified answer.
03-04-2009, 10:50 AM
I certainly don't use the room for anything other than my crafts. There are a lot of books, filing cabinets for all household records (tax, car, garden, banks, photographs, that sort of thing). I don't have lots of customers coming in, in fact I don't have any. When I have completed my models, I do not even sell them myself. I take them to London and hand them over to the London auctioneer and at that stage, no money changes hands. He deals entirely with the advertsing, catalogue, selling, packing, insurance and transport. After it is all over, he deducts his 15% and sends me the rest. I suppose I could say that it is the auctioneer who is conducting the business and not me. Whatever I make, I do not sell personally! Just wondered what you all thought. Thanks for replies.
03-04-2009, 10:56 AM
I think Cynthia is right with this one - at least that's my understanding too (we might bothe be wrong though :) )
I enquired with our local council when my partner set up his own business in the garage (alloy polishing on bike & car parts) to check if we would need to pay business rates and they said no based on the following guidelines;
1. Customers will not come to the house regularly - the business is run primarily by post. We do have the occasional customer drop in to bring parts, but as we are not a 'custoemr facing premises' business rates would'nt apply.
2. As Cynthia mentioned - there is no single room in the house used solely for business, we have an office which also doubles up as our personal office for bank, mortgage paperwork storage and the PC is used for business & personal. Even he garage is not solely a workshop for business, we also keep personal things in there too.
I also now run my jewellery business from home and the same rules apply to that too. It may vary from council to council, but I think the guidelines should be roughly the same.
The example the lady at the council gave me of someone who would have to pay business rates was someone like a beauty therapist working from home - the only way they could operate is by customers visiting their premises, and of course they would have to have a dedicated room too.
03-04-2009, 11:19 AM
I believe that business rates apply only if you use a part of your house/a room solely for business purposes i.e. you have a room fitted for business and do nothing else in there.
Yep that's absolutely correct :)
I certainly don't use the room for anything other than my crafts. There are a lot of books, filing cabinets for all household records (tax, car, garden, banks, photographs, that sort of thing).
Hang on, you're not using it solely for crafts if you're also storing household bits in there and I'm sure you could use the room to sit and read some of those books too if it means by doing so you won't be liable for business rates ;) Don't hand them the stick yourself for them to beat you with :)
03-04-2009, 01:24 PM
That is true enough. There is also a cupboard full of stuff we don't necessarily use much, but don't want to throw away. Even my winemaking homebrew kit lives there and although I make it, I don't sell it - drink it instead!
03-04-2009, 01:47 PM
Well if all else fails you could always use the home made wine as a bribe to avoid paying Business Rates! :mf:
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