Thousands of pubs’ business rates appeals ‘sitting in limbo’

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

Rates experts: appeals 'sitting are in the system, effectively going nowhere'
Rates experts: appeals 'sitting are in the system, effectively going nowhere'

Related tags Business rates Business rates in england and wales

Business rates appeals submitted by thousands of pubs from 2010 are still waiting for a hearing, despite a new tax regime having started on Saturday, it has been revealed. 

Figures obtained by CVS Business Rent & Rates Specialists under the Freedom of Information act showed that 166,351 appeals against 2010’s business rates valuations are yet to receive a hearing date.

This means some licensees could end up having waited nine years to find out if they will receive a rebate.

'One hand tied behind their backs'

CVS chief executive Mark Rigby said: “The Valuation Office Agency (VOA – the Government agency tasked with valuing businesses and processing appeals) has entered a new tax regime with new regulations effectively with one hand tied behind their backs.

Key Points

  • 166,351 business rates appeals from 2010 yet to receive hearing date as adjudicator faces severe backlog – licensees could face another two-year wait
  • Successful appeals could trigger substantial financial rebates
  • New tax regime began on Saturday with new 'Check, Challenge, Appeal' system
  • But, CVS said licensees challenging new regime could face three-year waits without extra resource for pressured VOA

“Businesses with appeals still outstanding from 2010 property assessments could face at least another two years' wait to have them resolved, given the backlog within the Valuation Tribunal Service (VTS).”

Over 1m appeals against the 2010 regime were lodged with the VOA.

Of those appeals, 196,390 are now with the VTS, the independent adjudicator for business rates disputes, a full seven years after the initiation of the 2010 regime, but only 30,005 are listed for hearing during the coming months.

Paul Turner-Mitchell, of CVS, told The Morning Advertiser​: “If these are successful, they’re going to trigger rebates in seven financial years. So they’re worth substantial amounts of money.”

Seven-year rebate

Turner-Mitchel added: “You’ve got hundreds of thousands appeals that are just sitting in the VTS system, effectively going nowhere, waiting to be listed, while businesses could be getting a seven-year rebate.

“Given that there are 30,000 listed for the months ahead and they’ve still got another 160,000 to list, you’re looking at two years at least until a lot of those businesses will actually have their cases determined.”

The Government has introduced a new ‘Check, Challenge, Appeal’ system for the new tax regime.

However, Rigby said without additional resources for the VOA, licensees challenging the new regime could face up to a three-year wait to have their cases resolved.

According to a Civil Service People Survey, 24% of VOA staff want to leave the agency.  

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