5th September 2016
Proposed business rates appeal process will discourage ratepayers from appealing
Business rates experts at Alder King have expressed their strong concern about the Government’s proposed reform of the business rates appeals system in England, saying its proposed three-stage Check, Challenge and Appeal legislation will make the appeals process more complex, expensive and unfair.
Alan Morrish, partner at Alder King, said: “The Government quite rightly wishes to establish an efficient system for business rates appeals as part of the 2017 rating revaluation but its current proposal will make it extremely difficult to appeal successfully and will deter ratepayers from pursuing a legitimate claim.
“It has always been down to the appellant to prove his case but now the appellant will have to prove at an appeal hearing that the Valuation Office has adopted a valuation which is outside of the “range of professional judgement”,” said Mr Morrish.
“For example if a business with a rateable value of £200,000 believes that its rates value should be £185,000, perhaps because of a change in circumstances, the tribunal would rule that the two figures are within the same range of professional judgement (within 10% of each other) and deny the appeal. The business would have to pay an additional £7,500 in business rates every year, clearly an inequitable situation.”
The proposals also include the introduction of fees for making an appeal, ranging from £150 for a small business to £300 for other businesses, and penalties for providing false information.
“These charges are grossly unfair,” adds Morrish. “Given the complexity of many appeal cases and the lack of transparency by the Valuation Office itself, penalising ratepayers in this way is heavy-handed.”
Mr Morrish is urging other businesses to comment on the draft regulations before the deadline expires on 11th October 2016 by visiting: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/546100/Business_rates_appeals_reforms_consulation_draft_regs.pdf
Following this consultation period, the Government will lay out its agreed approach before Parliament ready for implementation from 1 April 2017.