Rebecca Evans MS, Minister for Finance and Trefnydd
Today I am publishing a short technical consultation on proposed changes to the Non-Domestic Rating (Unoccupied Properties) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2020.
The amended regulations are designed to address abuse of rates relief for empty properties by changing the balance of financial incentives to engage in avoidance behaviour, making abuse of the scheme less attractive to disingenuous ratepayers. This marks the latest step in our work to tackle fraud and avoidance within the non‑domestic rates system. The Welsh Government is committed to supporting the overwhelming majority of businesses in Wales which act with honesty and integrity in arranging their local tax affairs. It cannot be right that the efforts of the considerable majority, to abide by the rules and pay their dues, are undercut by a small minority intent on exploiting or abusing the system.
This consultation will close on 12 November 2020. It asks for views of a technical nature regarding the drafting of the legislation and its practical and legal application. In the summer of 2018, the Welsh Government consulted on a range of measures to tackle rates fraud and avoidance, including options to minimise abuse of our relief schemes. We considered those responses carefully and announced our intentions in October 2018: Written Statement - Tackling fraud and avoidance of non-domestic rates in Wales.