Business Rate specialist Ben Batchelor-Wylam from Colliers International has welcomed the Government’s decision to abandon its proposed tough line on Business Rates appeals.The Government had proposed to tighten up the grounds for appeal whereby each appeal would require significantly more information making the process very onerous for Business.  

The Bristol based Business Rate expert said: “The appeals process is already complicated enough and so the proposed increased in burden would certainly have made rejecting an appeal much easier for the Valuation Office Agency, even before the crux of any issue were addressed.”  
The Broad Quay based specialist went on:  “A lot of time had been spent to implement the change and  the U-turn was quite unexpected, albeit very welcome.  

“Historically speaking, an appeal was more commonly known as a proposal -  to me this suggests a much more collaborative approach to the issues faced by business."
“I believe much stronger efforts should be made to ensure the rating system is more collaborative and transparent.  If a Rateable Value is considered to be wrong valuers within the Valuation Office Agency should be rewarded for accurate and speedy changes to reduce Rateable Values.  At the moment the whole process is far too defensive.”

The crackdown on business rates appeals was prompted by former High Streets Minister Brandon Lewis who claimed some businesses were abusing the appeals process.  
But business leaders argued the increase in appeals had been caused by the Government’s earlier decision to postpone the standard five-year revaluation by two years meaning the next revaluation is still some way away in 2017. 
Ben Batchelor-Wylam concluded: “Businesses have experienced, and many are continuing to experience, the most extreme trading environment in living memory if their costs, including Business Rates, are high this needs addressing with much greater support from Government.”
For further information contact Ben Batchelor-Wylam, Rating specialist, Colliers International, on Bristol 0117 917 2000