Pubs targeted by new wave of rogue rates agents

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Appeal Business rates in england and wales Voa Michael yass

Money upfront could be money down the drain
Money upfront could be money down the drain
A new wave of rogue business rates advisors has been targeting pubs over their rates appeals. The news has only come to light as the Valuation...

A new wave of rogue business rates advisors has been targeting pubs over their rates appeals.

The news has only come to light as the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) works its way through the latest appeals to its property re-evaluations of April 2010.

The appeals followed big increases in business rates at many pubs after the new levels were implemented — the average pub was hit by a 23% rise in rateable value.

Bruce Lawson, a consultant from PubTax, a licensed trade accountancy firm, said two of his clients handed out up to £2,500 each to one ratings appeal company, which has since disappeared.

Lawson warned: "This practice may be widespread across the country. The pressure of work on the ratings office means that these appeals are only being dealt with now, a year on. "This is because of the large rate increases and large number of appeals.

"Don't be tempted to go to a rating agent that asks for money upfront."

Fleurets' head of rating Michael Yass is concerned, particularly as the rules have changed for the latest raft of appeals. Appeals now need to follow a strict procedure, which gives licensees only a few months to discuss concerns with the VOA.

"If any of these mechanics are missed the Valuation Tribunal has the right to automatically strike out an appeal," Yass said. "The fear is if there is a rogue agent they may issue the appeal, but not go through with the rest of the process.

"This could mean a pub loses its right to appeal for the next five years."

Have you paid out money to a company that has disappeared and failed to supply the service it offered?

• The Publican's Morning Advertiser wants to hear your stories. Send zvpuryyr.creergg@jeoz.pbz​ an email.

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