Business Rates – An update
The new Business Rates assessments have been with us now for three months and Auditel has been busy helping clients address any issues their new rates has raised.
There have been some areas of particular note I would like to update you on:
Business Rates Reforms
There was an expectation that Business Rates system was to be reformed. The recent Conservative Party manifesto made promises of business rates reforms but these promises were missing in the Queen’s Speech suggesting that reforms are ‘off the table’ for now.
It is very clear that some form of business rates tax is here to stay at least until 2022 when the next revaluation is due and it is doubtful that five years is long enough to debate design and implement a new system, so perhaps the next revaluation period i.e. 2027 is more realistic.
What business needs is a system that values fairly, is adjusted regularly to changes in value due to economic pressures, and one, that when it fails, has an open, positive and swift appeal process available to set things right.
However as already indicated any reforms are possibly years away so consider launching an appeal now if you believe your rates are in accurate or unfair.
New Appeal System
Access to information about the rating assessments was changed this year. The only way to find out why your assessment is at a particular level is by instigating stage one of a complex new three stage appeal system.
This new regime or “Check, Challenge, Appeal” appears to be making things more difficult and slowing down the entire process.
The Valuation Office website is not fully operational and has little or no functionality, making it almost impossible for agents managing large numbers of appeals to manage workloads and track strict deadlines. Businesses attempting to manage their own appeals are struggling with the additional work needed to lodge an appeal and could be caught out by missing the critical deadlines being rigidly enforced by the VOA .
There is also now an added and seemingly unnecessary step requiring ratepayers to log into the Government Gateway to identify themselves by use of passport or P60 details and then select each property by uploading copy bills before authorising their agent to act.
Detailed instructions and guidance is available from RatesCheck to help clients navigate this requirement.
Launching an Appeal
Despite these early difficulties our business rate partners RatesCheck are confident they can successfully manage and navigate the system and achieve successful outcomes for clients. Indeed we are already seeing the first successful appeals coming through.
Such a swift turnaround from submitting an appeal to achieving a decision is made possible from drawing on the skills and experience of chartered surveyors such as RatesCheck.
If you think your rates are unfair and you want to focus on driving your business performance not on back office affairs give me a call on 0203 4340903 or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further how Auditel can help you.