HM Revenue & Customs have recently been forced to second an expert team in order to address necessary improvements to business rates. The recent “Check, Challenge, Appeal” process has been beset with many issues, so a number of people have been moved to the VOA (Valuation Office Agency) in order to address this.
A ‘Quick Fix’ for Business Rates
Though the intention was to make business rates easier, it has instead been rife with complaints of over-complication, difficulty in inputting data and assessments that are no longer very accurate. As a result, the number of business rates appeals has dropped by 86% since the new rates system was introduced – which many people blame on the increased difficulties of the process.
The problem, in particular, seems to be affecting small business who would most benefit from reduced rates. As such, many are potentially missing out on thousands of pounds worth of refunds.
Areas of Biggest Rises
The newly formed team at HMRC is understood to be reforming the “Check” element of the system. With an aim of achieving this reform by the end of 2018. With all properties to be reassessed in 2021, the government body has also begun work on the next stage of revaluation. This reform aims to be in effect before the revaluation begins in earnest.
However, the current state of the British high street – empty storefronts and the like – is being specifically blamed on business rates by some. With rates being linked to business size and location, it is said that traditional retailers are now at a disadvantage to their online counterparts who have no such restrictions as they do not need a business property. Or in the case of larger online retailers, such as Amazon, can afford to base their operations in less desirable locations meaning better business rates and little impact on profits.
With as many as 133,000 business rates appeals unresolved from 2010, some are left wondering if this reform is too little too late. It certainly seems that more reform is needed and this newly formed team may be able to address a number of issues. Including making the process easier and making sure that online businesses pay their fair share.
At Roger Hannah & Co, one of our specialisms is helping to successfully reduce business rates throughout the UK. If you need any further information or assistance, then don’t hesitate to contact us via our form or call on 0161 817 3399.