Landmark ruling on ATM business rates

15 November 2018

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Retailers are celebrating a victory after a Court of Appeal decision on Friday 9th November 2018 which deemed all ATMs to be non-rateable. Tesco, Sainsbury’s, the Co-0perative Group and others had appealed against the Valuation Office Agency decision to separately assess ATM machines for business rates.

The Court of Appeal decided that ATMs should not be separately rated, removing liability back to 2010. The decision leaves retailers in line for hundreds of millions of pounds in business rates refunds and makes the provision of free to use, ‘hole in the wall’ machines more financially viable.

Huw Jones, Associate Director with Cooke & Arkwright’s Business Rates department said, “The case law and legislation is fairly complex. Under the original proposals, fixed, external hole in the wall machines were rateable, whereas free standing internal ATMs as seen inside many shops, were not. If the VOA had been successful, its intention was for all ATMs, including internal machines, to be liable for business rates. This could potentially have opened the door for other concessions such as lottery terminals, photo booths, vending machines and children’s rides, to be assessed.

“The Appeal Court decision now renders all ATMs non rateable. This is very good news for the high street and rural locations where ATMs have been lost at an alarming rate. Hopefully this trend will now abate. According to the VOA website, there are circa 14,400 live, external ATM assessments in England and Wales with an average RV of £6,555. As a result of the Court of Appeal decision the average annual liability of £3,277.50 will be reduced to zero and refunds backdated to 2010.”