In March 2021, there was a consultation to centralise the payment of business rates for academies from 2022-23, with The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) paying national non-domestic rates (NNDR) bills directly to billing authorities.

It was initially intended that this change of process would take effect from 1 April 2022. However, as there has consequently been no change to legislation, there is therefore no requirement for billing authorities to participate in the revised scheme.

Liability for NNDR remains with the academy trust, with billing authorities having the option to implement the new payment process if they so wish.

As at the date of publishing, we are aware that the majority of local councils in Norfolk will not be participating in the new system, whilst the majority of Suffolk councils will be participating.

What is the new system?

The new payment process involves the ESFA paying NNDR bills directly to billing authorities on behalf of the academy.

The NNDR portal for billing authorities opens on 1 April 2022. Billing authorities will upload the claims data for academies in their area.

What happens if my billing authority is not implementing the new process?

The NNDR payment process will remain as previous years for those billing authorities not implementing the new payment process in 2022-23.

What does this mean for my academy?

For many maintained schools and academies in Suffolk, this means that you will continue to receive bills from your local authority, but these will be for information only with payments being made directly from the ESFA to the local authority.

The majority of schools and academies in Norfolk will continue to pay NNDR bills directly to their billing authority and claim this money back from the ESFA using the existing NNDR portal.

Should you have any queries on the new business rates payment process please get in touch with your M+A Partners contact or email