Do Rating List changes offer Hope to Cash-Strapped Companies?

Do Rating List changes offer Hope to Cash-Strapped Companies?

Companies reeling from April’s business rates appeal changes are now looking at the VOA’s Rating List as an alternative way of clawing back backdated rates repayments.  But just how helpful is requesting a change to the list, and can it really deliver more than a straight Business Rates Appeal?

On April the First businesses lost the ability to backdate any rebates from a Business Rates Appeal before 2015.  This has cost companies Thousands of Pounds each in potential repayments.

In response, some companies and rating experts have discovered that, in some instances, looking at their entry on the VOA’s Rating List can throw up some surprises.  And, in some cases, it even re-opens the doors to backdating.

“The Rating List is a collection of data on all the non-domestic properties in the UK,” explains Paul Giness of UK-wide ratings experts The Beattie Partnership.  “It lists the value of each property based on its hypothetical rental value in 2008 and this is used to help calculate what business rates are due.  But the list is not infallible and it’s the mistakes and omissions that could provide businesses with new options when it comes to challenging their rates.”

If a building has not been valued correctly in the list, or it can be demonstrated that the values per sq metre are inconsistent with comparable sites, businesses can ask the VOA to amend the list.  If the amendment is processed by the VOA, you could have a backdated refund for the difference – despite the new Appeal rules.

“The biggest difference between this route and a regular rating appeal is that the VOA are under no obligation to make the change: it’s at their discretion,” continues Paul.  “Which it is why it’s worth speaking to an expert to help build your case.  The more data and detail you have, the more likely you are likely to succeed.”  Some appeal routes do still remain however for a limited time, for example, if a relevant Tribunal Decision can be found, or if the VOA has recently amended your assessment.”

So changing the Rating List entry really could help some companies claw back lost tax but there are a number of strings attached.  If you’d like to know more about how changes to the Rating List could affect your company, speak to a business rating adviser.

The Beattie Partnership can be contacted on 0161 228 2224