Licensees face appeal woe

By Gurjit Degun

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Appeal Strike action Business rates in england and wales

Stricter guidelines for business rates appeals
Stricter guidelines for business rates appeals
Licensees contesting their 2010 business rates could see their appeals thrown out if new, stricter deadlines are not met. Under old procedures the...

Licensees contesting their 2010 business rates could see their appeals thrown out if new, stricter deadlines are not met.

Under old procedures the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) would set a target date by which to conclude an appeal.

If a settlement was not reached, a Valuation Tribunal date was set — usually about 10 weeks later. However, if the target date was missed, the VOA still had formal control of the case.

But the changes, which relate to the conduct of 2010 rating list appeals, now mean that if discussions are not concluded by the target date, the Valuation Tribunal takes control of the appeal.

Only in situations where appeals are almost completed will discussions be permitted to continue beyond the target date.

Otherwise, the new rules stipulate that where appeals are not settled, a "statement of case" must be provided to the valuation officer six weeks before the date of the Valuation Tribunal.

This notes the licensee's arguments and gives the valuation officer two weeks to respond. The Valuation Tribunal is copied into all correspondence to prepare for the hearing.

"If these deadlines are not met, the Valuation Tribunal has the right to strike out the case," said Fleurets' head of rating Michael Yass.

"Licensees have just one chance to make an appeal against the rateable value as at 1 April 2010.

"This means that a new owner could find it harder to make an appeal if a previous challenge to a rateable value has been struck out by the Valuation Tribunal simply because the timings were not adhered to for some reason."

He said he understands the purpose of the new rules is for appeals "to be better managed, but we're waiting to see how this will work in practice".

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