We act for a wide range of clients from all sectors including High Street retailers, Trade Counter operators, Industrial & Logistics and Office occupiers as well as Multiplex Cinemas, Serviced Apartments and NHS properties.
Using our expert knowledge we work to minimise our client’s business rates burden and provide advice on all aspects of rating law and practice. Using our market leading software we are also able to provide detailed rates liability forecasts.
We have expertise in negotiating rating appeals with the Scottish Assessor and the Valuation Office Agency in England and Wales, acting for ratepayers at Valuation Tribunal, and pursuing a variety of empty rates strategies to mitigate ongoing business rates liabilities.
The Current Revaluation period runs from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2022 in Scotland and 31 March 2021 in England and Wales.
If you have not yet appealed your Revaluation value and are located in Scotland you should be aware that the deadline for appeals has now passed. Your appeal opportunities are generally now limited to new property, material change and error provisions.
Currently, in England and Wales, there are no time limits outside those set by the new Check, Challenge and Appeal regulations, however as Non-Domestic Rating is a dynamic area of national taxation this may be subject to change in the future.
If you would like to discuss lodging an appeal, please contact us on 0131 235 2195 or by email at email@example.com
Aside from Revaluation appeals, there are several other avenues open to ratepayers which can be considered depending on where your property is situated.
In Scotland, occupiers have the right to appeal new properties or alterations to the valuation of their property as well as Material Change of Circumstances – where there has been a change in the location of the property which affects the value and Errors – where the Assessor has made a mistake in the valuation of the property.
In England and Wales, additional and more complex rights of appeal are available including those in relation to Transition Certificates.
“Check”, “Challenge” and “Appeal” what you need to know
The CCA system in England is a major departure from the previous proposals system and is designed to manage the flow of appeals through the system.
This stage allows the review of the facts on which your valuation is based and allows the gathering of evidence to support an alteration to the valuation. If the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) accepts there is an error they will amend the rateable value accordingly.
There is a danger that the VOA could spot an error which leads to an increase in the rateable value, therefore, the “check” stage must be undertaken with care.
If the valuation is reduced, this will likely lead to savings and the process will end there.
This stage can only be started when the VOA has not accepted the “check” and altered the rateable value or a default twelve month period has elapsed from the initial “check” request. A “Challenge” can only be instigated within 4 months of a completed “Check”.
To carry out a “challenge” the ratepayer or their agent must provide a full and comprehensive statement of case with valuations, evidence, comparables, case law and legal arguments etc. On receipt of the ratepayer’s case, the VOA disclose their evidence to support their valuation and consider the “Challenge”. The VOA will issue a decision on the “Challenge” within 18 months.
An appeal can be made to the Valuation Tribunal for England (VTE) within 4 months of the VOA decision notice or after 18 months have elapsed from the date of the “Challenge”. The Ratepayer (or their agent) has to submit the full suite of evidence and correspondence to the VTE.
Business Rates Poundage
The rate by which your rates liability is calculated is also known as the Uniform Business Rate or UBR. This is a multiplier set annually by the government as set out below.
Your liability will be based on this multiplier and if you are a small business you may benefit from the lower rate.
If your property is situated in England, your liability may be subject to Transitional Relief.
Business Rates reliefs are available, including Small Business Bonus Scheme, Empty property Relief, Renewable Energy Relief, Rural Rates Relief, Fresh Start, New Start and Charitable Relief.
For further information about rates relief in Scotland click here
For further information about rates relief in England and Wales click here
New Premises / Alterations
If you have acquired new premises or are altering your current premises, Business Rates will likely be a major consideration in your financial planning, often being the 3rd largest business expense behind rent and staff costs.
If you are taking on new space or altering your premises, it is never too soon to consider your Business Rates liability and what can be done to keep it as low as possible.
Early discussions with the Assessor / Valuation officer can be undertaken and if your property is located in Scotland, it is essential you consider whether to appeal or not within 6 months of the date of your valuation notice otherwise your appeal will not be accepted and your rates will be based on the Assessors opinion of your Rateable Value.