The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in Autumn 2016 that there would be relief from business rates for 5 years on new fibre installed from April 2017 to the end of March 2022.

There was a subsequent consultation on this run by the then DCLG, responsible for business rates. See

This resulted in legislation with the snappy title of The Non-Domestic Rating (Telecommunications Infrastructure Relief) (England) Regulations 2018 in March of that year. See

This defines how the relief is to be implemented. At S3 it defines the conditions which must be met: – (2) In these Regulations “new fibre” means fibre that was not laid, flown, blown, affixed or attached before 1st April 2017.

The Regulations then at S4 go on to define that the network must be valued at the full rate, including the “new fibre” and the valuation officer must then certify what proportion of the total value is represented by the “new fibre” (and associated plant and machinery) compared to the whole. A certificate is issued stating that proportion.

That certificate is presented to the relevant Billing Authority, and that proportion is then taken off the bill. Of course, if the network was only built after 1st April 2017, the proportion is 100% and there is no residual amount on the bill.

Following a tabling of various Parliamentary Questions by Stephen Timms MP, a former DTI Minister, the Treasury spokesperson confirmed that 71 certificates had been issues but refused to say what the total value was “since only a small number of companies are included”. Ofcom has confirmed that one of those was BT.

So, based on a current number of some 200 UK operators holding Code Powers and who have in the main built new fibre since 2017, there are a lot of operators out there who do not hold certificates entitling them to the fibre tax relief.

There is a general assumption amongst some that somehow the relief is automatic. It is not. If an operator does not hold the certificates, it could get a nasty shock when the bill arrives.

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By Published On: August 11, 2021Categories: News