Retailers are challenging a ruling that cash machines built into shop fronts must have a separate business rates bill. The Upper Tribunal ruled in April that ATMs built into the front of a store or petrol forecourt should be subject to a separate rates bill.
However, many retailers argue this is problematic for free-to-use ATMs, as they are likely to be more regularly used than machines that charge, while their rates bills are based on the machine’s turnover.
According the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), cash machines are an important service to smaller retailers, as more than half of convenience stores now offer ATMs for customers.
Nearly four in ten of these are free to use, it stated, while more than three-quarters of convenience store customers pay with cash.
The ACS therefore believes the ruling that ATMs should be rated separately is “demonstrative of the mess that the business rates system is in”.
James Lowman, chief executive of the body, insisted cash machines, in particular free-to-use ATMs, provide an important service to customers and “support the wider community where often their local shop is the only source of free cash”.
He added that ministers must “look again” at their policy on business rates and “other measures to make business rates fairer for local shops”.
For further information on any of the points raised in this article please contact Robert Botkai in our Licensing Department