The Government has launched its latest consultation of the Business Rates Appeals System. As part of its reform of rates appeals a move to a ‘check, challenge, appeal’ system may come with massive Sting in the Tail.
In a new twist, the government has introduced a proposal that the Valuation Tribunal will be unable to amend a rateable value unless it is “outside the bounds of reasonable judgement”. The effect of this being the Valuation Office, which sets rateable values, has been granted a carte blanch margin of error.
How “outside the bounds of reasonable judgement” will be defined isn’t stated, but the margin of error could amount to as much as 20%. That would mean that if a business has a rateable value of £100,000 and the actual value should be £80,000 it would be unable to appeal.
It’s quite clear the Government is trying to limit the number of appeals by fudging the whole system from start to finish by making the process burdensome and costly.
This comes at a time where many companies are facing a massive hike in their rates liability. The draft 2017 rating list is due to be published on 30 September. With rateable values expected to dramatically increase in many areas then these proposals will, if implemented, be simply rubbing salt into the wounds.
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