ACS Calls for Simplicity in Business Rates Appeal Process

ACS has submitted its response to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)’s consultation on proposed changes to the business rates appeals system, calling on the Government to ensure that the system is simple and accessible for retailers.

The consultation was launched in November by High Streets Minister Marcus Jones, who claims that the plans will ensure businesses can be confident that their valuations are fair whilst attempting to curb the number of speculative appeals going through the system.

Under the proposed reforms, businesses would go through a 3-stage process:

  • Check: ensuring the relevant facts are up to date and accurate, with any agreed errors quickly corrected
  • Challenge: allowing the business to challenge the rateable value on which their business rates bill is based, giving them the opportunity to set out their grounds for challenging and to put forward supporting evidence
  • Appeal: offering the opportunity to appeal to an independent valuation tribunal

In its submission, ACS raised concerns that the proposed fees associated with an appeal could act as a barrier to small businesses appealing their valuations. As the VOA does not currently publish information about the rental evidence that they use to produce their valuation schemes, retailers cannot check the accuracy of their rateable value outside of an appeals process. Increasing the transparency of the valuation process is therefore necessary in order to allow ratepayers to check how their rateable value is calculated and whether they should challenge this. This would coincidentally help the VOA in reducing the number of speculative appeals.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We welcome the Government’s intention to clarify the process for business rates appeals, but have concerns about the proposals to introduce further costs for retailers through fees and penalties for incorrect information.

“Since all evidence must be provided by the rate payer, businesses often need to hire surveyors or consultants to negotiate the business rate appeals system on behalf of them. With a complicated business rates structure, retailers cannot be expected to become experts of the system or to invest the administrative time they would need to fend for themselves.”

The full submission is available on the ACS website here:

This entry was posted by Temp Access on Tue, 05/01/2016 - 11:53