In short, it depends. If you rent your shipping container for your own business, then the tax liability falls with the owner. This is exactly the same situation with businesses that are based from self-storage containers. If you actually own the shipping container, however, you will be liable to pay them. Still confused? Read on for our explanation of shipping container business rates.
Business rates are an annual tax levied on ‘non-domestic’ properties, such as shops, offices, pubs, or warehouses – basically anything used for a business. You even have to pay them if you’re using part of your home to run a business.
Whilst some types of property are exempt from this type of tax (like agricultural buildings, training and welfare centres, or places of public worship), shipping containers generally aren’t.
Whether you’re using your container to run a cafe, art studio, or e-commerce hub, it’s likely that business rates on it will be due. As we’ve already mentioned, though, who pays the tax depends on who owns the container.
You can estimate your business rate liability by multiplying the rateable value of your business property by the standard or small business multiplier. If this is all jargon to you, don’t worry – there’s an easy-to-use calculator on the government’s website.
In essence, all it does is combine the estimated value of your business property (based on things like its location – is it in a prime shopping area?) with a standardised multiplying factor that’s determined each year by the treasury. If you’re running a business from a shipping container out in the middle of the countryside, therefore, it’s unlikely you’ll end up with a hefty tax bill.
Even if you think you’d have to pay business rates, there are lots of different reliefs available. If your container’s ‘rateable value’ is less than £12,000, for instance, it qualifies for small business relief – and you don’t have to pay anything!
If you’re still in doubt as to if you have to pay business rates on your shipping container, and how much, we’d advise contacting your local council or the Valuation Office Agency (the organisation responsible for valuing your property).
Modified shipping containers offer a cost-effective platform for a range of small businesses. If you’re currently considering starting up a new project from a shipping container, get in touch with UnitHire. We have a range of new and used containers, all of which can be modified to your specific requirements.