The government has announced that its unpopular planned reforms to the Business Rating Appeals system will be put on hold until after the 2017 Rating Revaluation.
The department for Communities and Local Government has bowed to industry pressure by shelving the controversial review which planned to make sweeping changes to the appeal system from this October.
Robert Brown, Partner Head of Rating Services at chartered surveyors Sanderson Weatherall commented; “The government’s proposed changes were a thinly disguised attempt to reduce and further complicate the number of genuine appeals still to be made by business ratepayers.
“The consultation process produced over 70 wide ranging responses from affected parties comprising local authorities, rating advisers, representative bodies and individual businesses, who commented that the entire system required a much broader update. It is a fundamental human right to be able to challenge the amount of tax levied on you by the local council for the occupation of your business premises, and this welcome announcement today will help struggling businesses to seek proper professional advice on their rates assessments.”
The proposed reforms were generally believed to be excessive, in that ratepayers would have been required to go to the time and expense of preparing a fully detailed case at the outset of a simple challenge, before the Valuation Office Agency would have needed to consider lifting a finger.
Mr Brown concludes; “It is comforting to note that these ill-conceived reforms have now been shelved and apparently folded into the wider ongoing review of Business Rates Administration.”