Different types of non-domestic buildings are subject to different business rates. The Valuations Office Agency ("VOA"), an arm of HMRC, values properties to calculate the applicable business rates.
First and foremost the VOA looks at the rental value of properties of a certain type, for example hairdressers, in a particular area.
The changes made in April 2017 were met with a mixed reception. Whether or not the changes affected a business depended on the business' location and size and the reliefs seem to heavily favour small businesses. Indeed small business rate relief in England was doubled from 50% to 100% from 1 April 2017. Although larger chains have seen rises and falls in rates in their different stores their rates have tended to balance out and offset each other. On the other hand small independent shops in prosperous areas have found themselves priced out of the market but tied into leases with years left to run.