The 2017 Rating Revaluation looms ever closer. The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) has now published its draft rating list for England and Wales, which means businesses, institutions and organisations will be able to check their proposed new rateable values.
“At the draft stage, it is important that businesses understand what their proposed rateable values are, with a thorough check of all the details included,” explains Paul Giness of The Beattie Partnership, based in Manchester.
Differences in Perception
The expectation is that the 2017 rating revaluation will, for many, bring about the largest change in business rates for a generation.
“Businesses have complained for a long time about the infrequency of rates reviews, with rates exceeding rental payments, due to the big changes in property values since 2010,” continues Paul.
For the retail sector in particular, business rates have become a battleground where they have to fight to keep going in the face of annual rate increases.
Under the Government’s new rules, businesses should now go through a three-stage process regarding appeals against rateable values: check, challenge and appeal.
These proposed rule changes currently apply to England only, although the devolved administrations in Wales and Scotland are considering their own changes.
“There has long been a need for change,” Paul observes, “but for our business rating clients, the new system will shift the weight of bureaucracy firmly onto them when it comes to challenging rateable values.”
Paul Giness, The Beattie Partnership
This is because the checking part of the process will require that the ratepayer ascertains whether the VOA’s information is correct, while the VOA will have up to 12 months to disclose this information, upon prior agreement with the ratepayer.
From the government viewpoint, the new system is designed to save money, by reducing the number of unnecessary appeals, and streamline a system currently buckling under the pressure of processing some 200,000 investigations when only 30% of appeals lodged are upheld.
Challenges and Changes
“Regardless of whether the new system delivers its promised benefits, the key for ratepayers, and their agents, is ensuring that the VOA’s details are correct,” Paul states. “The opportunity to challenge is built into the system. It may not be perfect, but it’s what we will have to work with.”
There is still some uncertainty as to how the mechanism will work but businesses need to be aware of their new rateable value and what this will mean for them, in terms of changes – whether up or down.
With the Rating Revaluation around the corner, these issues will soon become very real, for all parties.
You can access your new proposed rateable values via this link: https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/view-my-valuation/search
For more guidance on the financial implications of your proposed rateable values, please call The Beattie Partnership on 0161 228 2224.