Business Rates represent a significant operational cost for most businesses and our rates appeal service delivers value in ensuring it is kept to a minimum.
Effective from 1 April 2017, new rating lists were published across England, Wales and Scotland for all commercial properties. Businesses have the right to contest their individual assessments (rateable values) and our team of Chartered Surveyors have extensive experience in valuing and challenging these with the relevant authority. Where an outcome can’t be agreed representations can be made to an independent panel in order that they can determine the correct value and our team members have been involved at the higher levels of this process, appearing as experts at the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber).
The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) are responsible for the valuation of business premises in England and Wales and the appeal system in England is operated online, through HMRC’s Government Gateway.
Individual assessments can the be contested through the Check, Challenge and Appeal (CCA) process which addresses factual issues first, valuation / subjective issues second and lastly provides the opportunity to appeal to the Valuation Tribunal. All evidence and argument must be advanced up front and a thorough approach is key in order to succeed.
Grounds for contesting rateable values include errors in floor areas; incorrect classification of areas; flawed analysis of rental evidence, accounts or build costs; demolitions; changes in occupation of part; physical disturbance to a property or its wider locality and errors in effective dates adopted. This is not an exhaustive list and there are further grounds for property undergoing redevelopment, property that is in extreme disrepair and exempted properties.
The VOA also maintains the Rating List in Wales and the grounds for contesting rateable values are the same but the appeal system is not linked to the Government Gateway.
Appeals are lodged and programmed for discussion by the VOA, negotiated and either agreed, withdrawn or, where resolution can’t be reached, are referred to the Valuation Tribunal for determination.
The Scottish Assessors Association is responsible for the valuation of commercial properties for rates in Scotland. With tighter restrictions on when assessments require appealing by and fewer appeal grounds, the opportunity to contest values in Scotland is currently limited to new owners or occupiers and alterations made by the Assessor (within 6 months) and physical changes that have occurred.
Appeals are cited for hearing by an Independent Valuation Appeal Committee and settlement may be reached with the Assessor in the run up to this.
Although the appeal system operates differently in each area, the valuation principles and underlying methodology is the same. Through inspection, measurement, analysis of evidence, knowledge of statute and case law and expertise in valuing complex properties, we leave no stone unturned and can make all necessary representations to ensure that assessments are kept to a minimum.