Colliers concern new “streamlined system” may make it more onerous and expensive for businesses to appeal their business rates
The Government has today launched a consultation regarding the frequency of future Business Rates Revaluations.
It announced that the proposals are designed to make the system more streamlined and fair. The consultation has been announced as part of the Fundamental Review of Business Rates which will conclude in the Autumn.
Under the plans, revaluations of non-domestic properties would take place every three years instead of the current system of five - ensuring they better reflect changing economic conditions.
Colliers fully support more frequent Revaluations and feel that these will both reflect the constant change in the market and hopefully ensure that assessments are more accurate.
However as John Webber, Head of Business Rates at Colliers comments:
“Although on the face of it the Government announcement that it is move to three yearly valuations is to be applauded- no one certainly wants a repeat of the six or seven year rating lists we have experienced - there are certain caveats in the new proposals which are a cause for concern:
Firstly the Government is now imposing a duty on rate payers to supply detailed information on an annual basis to the VOA about their properties- so this means there will be greater onus on rate payers and more paperwork for them to do so on an annual basis, even before they can access the appeals system.
Secondly the Government is considering removing the “Check” part of the CCA Check, Challenge Appeal, because of the above, and will consider whether appeals will go straight into a Challenge for which the rate payer would need to submit a fee. ( Currently there are no fees payable until the appeal stage of CCA).
Thirdly although the government wishes to move to three year valuations, on the basis that rates will have a greater chance of mirroring the rental values, there are no plans to reduce the two year gap between the AVD+ date and the issue of the new list. We would favour a one year gap- so that 2023 rates liability is for example based on values in 2022, not 2021. This would give a fairer reflection on the market.”
Finally there are suggestions that MCC appeals will be consigned to history.
“My worry is the proposed system would increase the bar to appeal against unfair rating assessments, and thus reduce the number of appeals. The VOA will have no need to inspect properties- or maintain the list- that responsibility seems to have passed to every corner shop or ratepayer in the country.”
“This reform seems to be less about helping the rate payer and more about benefitting the government and taking the pressure off the VOA.”