A Concise Guide to the 2017 Rating Revaluation for Ratepayers in England
Major reforms to the rating system were introduced in April 2017. As you will read below, a specialist knowledge of this property tax is of paramount importance in managing and minimising your business rates liability.
The business rates system has long been subject to extensive criticism from businesses, trade and industry bodies, as well as rating surveyors.
Despite the Government’s original promise to introduce a fairer and more efficient system, we now have a process that involves more complexity, less openness and one which seems almost designed to deter ratepayers from making appeals.
The significant changes for ratepayers for the 2017 Rating Revaluation are:
- Online registration, property matching and case processing for ratepayers and agents, via the Valuation Office Agency web portal.
- The imposition of a new Check, Challenge, Appeal (CCA) process.
- Less transparency – the VOA is no longer obliged to provide the rental evidence used to assess a property.
- Penalties of up to £500 for the provision of false information made ‘carelessly, recklessly or knowingly’.
- Fees of up to £300 to progress action to the Appeal stage.
- ‘Check, Challenge, Appeal’ adds complexity, time and potentially cost to the process.
The three stages are as follows:
Check – This initial stage provides an opportunity to highlight any factual matters and errors upon which an assessment is based. (Values and any other complex issues will require progression to the Challenge stage).
Maximum of 12 months for the VOA to issue a Check outcome
Challenge – This key stage of the process is to raise valuation and other complex issues not addressed at the initial Check stage. A Challenge must be instigated within four months of the Check decision.
A ‘Challenge’ must contain:
- Details of the grounds for the challenge
- A proposed alternative rating assessment
- Rental evidence to support the proposed figure
A submission lacking these elements will be returned as ‘incomplete’ and must be resubmitted within the four month period of the ‘Check’ outcome.
Maximum of 18 months for the VOA is issue a Challenge decision
For cases that fail to reach an agreement during this stage, there is an option to lodge an Appeal within four months of a Challenge decision notice issued by a Valuation Officer.
Appeal – This process may involve taking the case to a Valuation Tribunal; importantly, any additional evidence beyond that used as part of the Challenge stage may be deemed inadmissible.