Commercial surveying news from the Beattie Partnership

Why Shouldn’t You Avoid the Draft Rating List

If the forthcoming 2017 Rating Revaluation has seemed a bit abstract, the recent publication of the draft Rating List for England and Wales will make it appear much more defined.

The List will show details about proposed rateable values and it will be up to ratepayers to check that they are correct.

In relation to this, there is a new appeals process coming in.  It consists of three stages: check, challenge and appeal. These proposed changes are for England only, with the Scottish and Welsh devolved administrations considering changes of their own.

The Burden of Responsibility

There are contrasting perceptions regarding this new process. The Government sees it as a way of simplifying the whole rating appeals system, aiming to save local government substantial sums of money.

However, some businesses and rating agents have expressed the concern that the new system will simply shift the bureaucratic burden of responsibility onto the shoulders of ratepayers.

In this sense, the new appeals system will require more involvement from anyone wishing to challenge a rateable value. They will need to gather evidence and proof for their challenge to meet the stated criteria of being both “meaningful” and “complete.”

For many businesses, the past infrequency of rating revaluations has hit them hard, leaving them facing big rate increases out of all proportion to the actual economic climate.

The 2017 Rating Revaluation seeks to address this but is already anticipated as being the most major shake-up of business rates in a generation.

Simple or Complex?

With these changes afoot, there are still areas where it is unclear quite how the new system will work. One of these areas is to do with Transitional Arrangements, and in England there are proposals to phase large changes in liability in up to three bandings. Separate Transitional schemes for Scotland and Wales are under consultation.

If the new check, challenge and appeal process is going to require evidence, photographs and valuations and maybe even precedent and case law where appropriate; and with the Valuation Office Agency reserving the right to take more time over disclosing information, it will be a test for all involved.

Will there be a disconnect between the Government’s stated aim of simplifying the process and the actual process itself when experienced by ratepayers and rating agents?

Regardless of potential obstacles to a successful rating appeal, it’s clear that now that the draft Rating List is published, businesses need to shift up a gear and get checking their details in preparation for 2017.

You can see the draft Rating List via this web portal. To get a better understanding of how if financially impacts you, please contact us.