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The Government has introduced significant reforms to the Business Rates system. As you will read below, specialist know-how is essential to your rates mitigation game-plan over the 5 year duration of the 2017 Rating List.

The rating system has been subject to extensive criticism from businesses, trade and industry bodies, as well as the surveying profession.

Despite a comprehensive ‘root and branch’ review of business rates by the Government and promise of a fairer more efficient system, a more complex regime has replaced the original appeals process.

The most significant changes for ratepayers for the 2017 Rating Revaluation are:

  1. The imposition of a new ‘Check, Challenge, Appeal’ process.
  2. Far less transparency - Valuation Officers will no longer be obliged to provide ratepayers (or their agents) with the rental evidence used to assess a property.
  3. A proposal will need to set out the substantive reasons at the Challenge stage, along with an alternative valuation backed by detailed supporting evidence.
  4. A fee of up to £300 to progress action to the Appeal stage.
  5. Penalties of up to £500 for the provision of false information made ‘carelessly, recklessly or knowingly’.
  6. The VOA has a new registration procedure for rate payers and agents to progress the CCA process.

Check – This initial stage provides an opportunity to establish and review the facts upon which a rating assessment is based. If any of these issues cannot be agreed on with the Valuation Officer, the case can progress to the Challenge stage.

Challenge – Ratepayers that disagree with their Rateable Value following the ‘Check’ process can initiate the ‘Challenge’ stage, which must be actioned within four months of the conclusion of the initial stage. In certain circumstances it may also be possible to commence action with a Challenge.

A ‘Challenge’ must contain:

  • Details of the grounds for the challenge;
  • A proposed alternative Rateable Value;
  • Evidence or analysis supporting the proposed assessment.

A Challenge lacking these elements will be returned by the Valuation Officer as ‘incomplete’ and must be resubmitted within four months of the end date of the ‘Check’ stage.

For cases that fail to reach an agreement during this stage, there is an option to lodge an Appeal within four months of a Challenge decision notice issued by a Valuation Officer.

Appeal – This process will involve taking the case to a Valuation Tribunal; importantly, any additional evidence beyond that used as part of the Challenge stage may be deemed inadmissible.

If you haven’t taken the step of appointing a specialist professional rating advisor, we can provide you with initial informal advice on how to keep this major property cost to a minimum moving forward. Call our Rating Helpline on +44 (0)8000 710 014 or e-mail ratinghelp@vailwilliams.com.

Request a Business Rates Audit

Our business rates audit is an informal no-cost review of your current and future rates liability.

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Key contact: Simon Moffatt Partner
Simon Moffatt

Simon Moffatt BSc (Hons) FRICS IRRV ACIArb FICBA