The revaluation of business rates that is due to take effect from 1st April 2017, will mean a substantial increase in liability for some companies already in financial difficulty. It could see a worsening of their situation, and potentially lead to insolvency in the worst case scenario.
Although some commercial property owners will enjoy a reduction in business rates, if you are worried about the negative impact of the 2017 business rates revaluation, you can challenge it or make a formal appeal.
Factual errors sometimes affect the Valuation Office Agency’s (VOA) calculations, and if you believe the information they hold is incorrect, you can contact them on an informal basis to discuss the situation.
Should this approach be unsuccessful, an official appeals procedure known as ‘check, challenge, appeal’ is to become available from 1st April 2017.
Business rating is a complex area, however, and professional representation will help to ensure your appeal stands the best chance of success. Many businesses seek assistance from firms of chartered surveyors such as Eddisons, who have vast experience in this area.
Their understanding of what is required to make a reasoned and factually accurate business rates appeal can bring about a positive result quickly, sometimes without having to enter the formal appeals process.
You will be asked to check the accuracy of information on which the rateable value is based, confirming that it is complete and correct.
Three aspects need to be included when making a challenge - you must put forward:
The VOA will issue a decision notice, and if the challenge has been unsuccessful you can commence a formal appeal.
You have four months from the date of the decision notice in which to lodge an appeal. Proposals have been made to introduce a fee in this respect – £300 for large organisations, and £150 for small businesses. Appeals in England are made to the Valuations Tribunal.
The input of ratings experts will help you meet the many demanding requirements of the Valuation Office Agency when making an appeal. Their support is invaluable in such a complex and bureaucratic process, particularly when arriving at an alternative rateable value for your property.
Making an appeal without professional assistance is time-consuming, expensive, and takes your focus away from running the business. Furthermore, the last revaluation of business rates which took place in 2010, still has a considerable backlog of appeals waiting to be dealt with by the Valuation Office.
Eddisons can make representation on your behalf from an early stage, and potentially bring the matter to a satisfactory conclusion without delay. The government’s aim to “ensure fairer bills for businesses up and down the country” may not be realised in many cases, particularly where companies are ineligible for transitional relief.
For more information, contact Begbies Traynor - the largest professional services consultancy in the UK. We provide independent confidential advice, and can arrange a free same-day consultation to discuss your situation.