Business Rates

Katy Stone made this Freedom of Information request to South Hams District Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear South Hams District Council,

Please can you provide me with the following information under the
Freedom Of Information Act 2000:-

The most up to date list you can obtain (Ideally from April 2016) (please provide the date of the data) with;
(a) List all Commercial properties with their Rateable Values and addresses.
(b) The names and addresses of the Rate payers referred to above
for each property and their correspondence address (if different
from the property address)
(c) The full billing authority reference for each property (this is the property reference not the account number)
(d) The current liability payable for the year 2015/16 & 2016/17
(e) The date the rateable occupier first became liable for the
business rates
(f) If the property is empty that date it became empty
(g) Please also state which hereditament is currently receiving
I. Charitable rate relief (mandatory rate relief)
II. Discretionary rate relief
III. Empty property rate relief
IV. Listed building exemption
V. Retail Relief
VI Small Business Rate Relief
VII. Any other relief
(h) List of all credits on account and the amounts

In accordance with the ICO Torbay decision, I would appreciate it of this Council did not withhold the names of sole traders and partners. In the circumstances of the Torbay case the individuals were private landlords or sole traders and the Commissioner concluded that disclosure of their names would not breach the first data protection principle as the information relates to the business activities of the individuals concerned and not activities they undertake simply or solely in their private lives. The Commissioner concluded that disclosure would be fair and meet schedule 2 condition 6 of the Data Protection Act.

Thanking you in advance.

Yours faithfully,

Katy Stone

Sarah Hunt, South Hams District Council

This response was sent 10th November 2016 but didn't get through:

Dear Katy Stone

Freedom of Information request - Ref: 136619

Thank you for your request for information on 12/05/2016 I would like to apologise for the delay in replying to you.

I can confirm in accordance with s1 of the Freedom of Information Act that the Council holds information relating to all rate payers of National Non Domestic Rates, (commonly referred to as Business Rates). This updated information can be found on our website under the following link;
http://shdcweb.swdevon.lan/article/11959...

As part of your request you have also sought a list of sole traders liable for NNDR. The Council considers that this information is exempt and should not be disclosed.
I have considered your request that the Council includes with the information provided to you details of accounts relating to sole traders. I have had regard to the ICO Decision Notice dated 10 February 2015 (Ref FS 50547446) on which you rely.
It is right that some of the accounts which exist in the Council’s records are held in the name of private individuals rather than companies. This information constitutes personal data as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998 as it, either on its own or with other information, would identify a living individual.
S40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 makes such information exempt if to do so would contravene the data protection principles
NNDR is a collection of a tax on buildings that are other than used for domestic purposes. The buildings are rated by the Valuation Office and the list provided to the local authority for the collection of the rates. It is not the case that all such buildings are used for commercial purposes, for example a person who stores or repairs a classic car in a garage for their own personal enjoyment will still be liable to pay NNDR.
The Council records for the purposes of NNDR do not identify whether the private individual is running a business from the rateable property, ie whether the individual is a sole trader or partner. It is therefore the Council’s view that it does not hold the information regarding sole traders that has been requested.
However even if it were the case that some of these individuals are operating a business and therefore can be considered sole traders, the Council could only confirm that this is the case by processing the individuals personal data in order to identify such individuals. As their personal information is only held for the purposes of collecting the rates, processing of the information for the purposes of making it available to a third party would contravene the Principles of the Data Protection Act relating to fair processing and holding information. This would in the view of the Council go beyond the reasonable expectation of the individual.
It is the Council’s view that for these reasons the ICO decision referred to above is not applicable to this request and the information relating to private individuals is exempt under s40(2) of the Act.
If you remain dissatisfied with this reply you can request that the Council conducts an Internal Review of its decision.

Yours sincerely
Valerie Langham

Freedom of Information Officer
South Hams District Council
Follaton House
Plymouth Road
Totnes
TQ9 5NE
01803 861113
Email: [email address]
Web: www.southhams.gov.uk