Business rates

Pubs to be charged to appeal business rates as part of system shake-up

By Mike Berry

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Business rates Appeal Business rates in england and wales

The rates appeals system is in need of reform
The rates appeals system is in need of reform
Licensees wanting to challenge their business rates bills will have to pay a fee in future under new government proposals.

The new approach is part of a shake-up of the appeals system aimed at resolving cases more quickly and weeding out speculative appeals that clog up the system.

A new fee in the region of £100 to £300 would be charged for anyone looking to lodge an appeal. This would be refundable to those whose appeal is successful.

Many licensees have complained in the past about the time it takes for an appeal to be resolved particularly has trading conditions can alter quickly for pubs.

Under the proposed reforms​, businesses would go through a 3-stage process:

  • check – ensuring relevant facts are up to date with any agreed errors quickly corrected
  • challenge – allowing a challenge to the rateable value on which their business rates bill is based, giving owners the opportunity to set out their grounds for challenging, an alternative valuation and to put forward supporting evidence
  • appeal – offering the opportunity to appeal to an independent valuation tribunal


Pubs minister Marcus Jones, who also has responsibility for local government, said the move would streamline the system, ending the “decades-long deadlock” from excessive numbers of speculative appeals.

Currently, more than 850,000 appeals have been submitted against valuations dating back to 2010 – about 70% of which result in no change to the rateable value and less than 2% proceed to a tribunal hearing.

Jones said: “The business rates appeals process has been in a decades-long deadlock, hampered by some unscrupulous agents making speculative appeals – sometimes for businesses unaware this is being done on their behalf.

“A key part of our long-term economic plan is to turn this around and streamline the system, which is why we’re proposing a straight-forward three-stage process so people can check and challenge their valuations and be confident they’ll get a fair deal.”

The Valuation Office Agency will develop a simple online service which will allow customers to provide information and to track the progress of their check or challenge.

The BBPA welcomed the proposals. Chief executive Brigid Simmonds said:

“We very much agree that the system needs to be streamlined. The BBPA had called for modest fees, and specifically that they be refundable where the challenge is successful, which is what is now being proposed.

“We need to ensure that cases needing urgent attention are dealt with promptly and effectively, so that licensees get the rebates they deserve, for overvaluations, and pay the right level of rates in the future.

“It is in everyone’s interest that the system is not clogged up with more speculative appeals, while still providing pubs a more effective route to challenge unfair valuations than we have at present.”

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