The Government launched its consultation to business rates at the end of June, which requires responses by Tuesday 24 August 2021.
The report was pushed back to the Autumn due to the impact of the pandemic.
The Government has indicated it believes three yearly revaluations will provide more accurate valuations and greater transparency about the make-up of valuations, enabling business rates liabilities to more closely reflect current rents and economic conditions.
Colliers said it was concerned the Government is not prioritising increasing the resources at the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), which it believes will inevitably put even more burden on ratepaying businesses.
The consultation paper is asking for responses and comments on a wide range of issues such as the duty to notify the VOA of changes to the occupier and property characteristics, mandatory provision of rent and lease information as well as trade and cost information used for valuations and the provision of this information is mandatory for submission of an appeal against a rateable value. There would be penalty fines for providing late or incorrect information.
The Government is also proposing changes to the current appeals system, which may means fees for submitting challenges in addition to the current free for submitting an appeal
According to John Webber, head of business rates at Colliers, the proposals would result in a much more onerous and expensive way for businesses to appeal their business rates.
Unfair rating assessments
“This new system would increase the bar to appeal against unfair rating assessments and thus reduce the number of appeals. The VOA will have no need to inspect properties or maintain the list- that responsibility seems to have passed to every ratepayer in the country. If the proposals go ahead as in current form, the VOA will think it is Christmas,” he said.
“It’s interesting the proposals have been rushed out at the start of the summer holidays as businesses struggle with trying to return to normality and the pingdemic of staff following the Covid lockdown. However, despite the inconvenience, we urge all businesses to make representation to this consultation by 24 August – or their ability to appeal higher and higher rate bills will be severely curtailed.”