Councils can defer CIL payments from smaller developers for up to six months, say new regulations

Councils will be able to defer community infrastructure levy (CIL) payments from smaller developers for up to six months but there will be no right of appeal for applicants if authorities refuse their request, according to new regulations and guidance.

Parliament: CIL regulations published (pic: Getty)
Parliament: CIL regulations published (pic: Getty)

Regulations to enable councils to temporarily relax some CIL rules for developers with an annual turnover of less than £45 million have been laid in Parliament.

In May, the government announced that it would introduce amendments to the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010 "to enable charging authorities to defer payments, to temporarily disapply late payment interest and to provide a discretion to return interest already charged where they consider it appropriate to do so for developers that have an annual turnover of less than £45 million".

The changes were announced in response to concerns about the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the development sector.

Yesterday, the government published the Community Infrastructure Levy (Coronavirus) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020.

The regulations confirm the proposed changes announced in May.

Updated planning guidance issued alongside the regulations says that the changes will allow CIL collecting authorities "more discretion around how they deal with the late payment of CIL".

"This could provide some scope to ease the financial pressures on developers", the guidance adds.

The document says that, once the regulations come into effect, developers "should make a deferral request to the collecting authority, in writing, no more than 14 days before, or as soon as practicable after the date the CIL payment is due".

It adds that the collecting authority "can request whatever information from the developer they reasonably need to consider the deferral request".

Authorities will have to notify the developer of their decisions within 40 days of receipt of the request.

On the £45 million threshold, the guidance says that firms seeking the deferral of payments must submit "evidence that they have an turnover not exceeding £45 million and that they are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the coronavirus".

It says that, if the firm is a sole enterprise, "it is the turnover of the applicant only, as shown in the latest set of accounts".

It adds that, "for applicants acting as part of a group, that have partners or linked enterprises, the turnover assessment should take the latest turnover of the applicant, as shown in their accounts, together with the turnover of any linked enterprises, any partners of any linked enterprises, any enterprises linked to any of the applicant's partners and any enterprise linked to the applicant's linked companies".

If a deferral is granted, the guidance says, it can only be for a maximum period of six months from the date that the deferral request has been received.

The guidance says that developers have no right of appeal if the decision is taken to refuse a request for deferral.

The guidance says that it will come into effect when the Community Infrastructure Levy (Coronavirus) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 come into force and will remain in place until 31 July 2021.

The regulations must be approved by Parliament before they can come into force.

Nicola Gooch, a planning partner at Irwin Mitchell, said: "The guidance makes clear that the scheme is discretionary, so there is no right of appeal against a refusal, but the government expects collecting authorities to take a positive approach when considering a deferral request."

She also said it allows the same CIL payment can be deferred more than once.

Gooch added that she expects the draft CIL regulations to be "coming to the statute book very soon indeed".

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