A requirement for businesses to update the Government annually could cost a total of around £300 million a year, analysis by Gerald Eve, a real-estate advisory company, has found.
The estimate is more than four times higher than the £35 the Government said that the paperwork would cost each business every year.
Companies pay business rates – the equivalent of council tax – on the properties that they use, but the amount they pay is only reassessed every five years, based on the rental value of the property.
This can leave some companies paying unfair amounts – either too high or too low – for several years.
The new Government proposals plan to ensure that rates are recalculated every three years instead.
But the new rules include a provision which will force companies to report within 60 days of them making any changes to the property, and also submit annual reports.
Businesses will have to report every time their rent changes, the buildings are upgraded or the occupation of the premises changes.
Gerald Eve said that the annual reports alone would cost around £150 if businesses hire a consultancy such as theirs.
“The Government has quietly pushed out confirmation of the proposed changes to the way business rates information is collated, putting far more burden on businesses who are already stretched and trying to survive during this cost-of-living crisis and economic downturn,” said Simon Green, head of business rates.
He added: “According to the documents, informing the authorities will only cost ratepayers £35 a year.
“But we have no idea how the Government has come to that figure. A far more realistic estimate would be an average of £150 a year for each and every rateable property, although it could be far higher for businesses that see more regular changes.”