Shock fall in business rate appeals since launch of new system

Drop in numbers coincides with controversial Check Challenge Appeal system

9 April 2018

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New figures published by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) show a disturbing fall in the number of business rate appeals lodged in England since the 2017 revaluation, compared to previous rating lists.

The drop in numbers coincides with the highly controversial Check Challenge Appeal (CCA) process, which was launched on 1 April 2017 despite universal business objections to many of its features. Now the stats published by the VOA (to 31st December 2017) show that only 12,840 ‘Checks’ had been registered in England since 1st April, compared to 109,290 appeals submitted by the end of September 2010 after the previous revaluation. Even more surprisingly, the stats show that only 1,630 of those checks had progressed to the ‘Challenge’ stage by the end of December.

The 2017 revaluation was the first rating revaluation for seven years after a two-year delay on the traditional five-yearly revaluation was imposed by the government. The eventual revaluation resulted in some significant changes in rateable values reflecting changes in the property market over that period. Many ratepayers have experienced substantial increases in their rates liability.

The CCA system is administered via the Government Gateway portal. It has been subject to widespread and highly publicised condemnation from business leaders and rating professionals, who say that the new system is overly bureaucratic and tortuous to navigate. It is believed that this considerable administrative burden is deterring many people from appealing their rates, however unfair or incorrect they might appear to be. A universal desire for openness and transparency has resulted in unacceptable levels of opaqueness and confusion.

Wales still operates under the existing, user friendly business rate appeal system. However, a consultation on possible changes concluded on 9th January 2018; the responses have been reported to Mark Drakeford, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government. No announcement on any changes to the existing, simpler appeal system, which works well for all stakeholders, has been made to-date.

I have worked with Jeremy Symons over the past three years successfully leasing and buying property in support of my business. I continue to be very pleased with his knowledge of the market and expertise. Our relationship over this time has resulted in acquiring 20,000 sq ft at Capital Business Park in Cardiff, leasing 11,000 sq ft at Southpoint, and subsequently leasing an initial 42,000 sq ft at Parc Bedwas, followed by a succession of expansions of a further 11,000 and then 47,000 sq ft, enabling us to centralise all of our operations at Parc Bedwas in a single 100,000 sq ft facility. The acquisitions were completed at the perfect time for tenant purposes and the rent fixed throughout the term at very economical rates. A job well done.

Bob James, Aerfin