Business rates appeals fall by 80% under new, ‘over complicated' system

28 February 2019 by
Business rates appeals fall by 80% under new, ‘over complicated' system

The number of businesses disputing their rates valuations has fallen by 80% since the government introduced the "over complicated" ‘check challenge appeal' system.

Government figures show that 65,380 appeals have been launched against 2017 valuations under the new system, in contrast the same period after the 2010 valuations saw 333,000 appeals lodged.

Today's figures, released by the Valuation Office Agency, also showed that only 5,000 of the businesses to make it through to the challenge stage of the process have had their cases resolved. This translates to 400 concluded cases a month, despite 800 challenges being submitted a month.

The launch of ‘check, challenge, appeal' coincided with a significant rate increase for London and the south east, and was described by John Webber, head of business rates at Colliers International, as a "bitter pill".

He said: "Over complicated procedures, lack of guidance and a largely un-navigable new online portal are still discouraging those with good cases from challenging their bills.

"At the very least businesses now need to employ agents to help them get through the system, whereas before many could appeal directly themselves."

The Valuations Office Agency is believed to be now turning its attention to the 2021 revaluation sparking concerns that case workers will be reassigned, and the backlog left to build up.

Webber added: "The lack of planning, insignificant time to trial the system before it went live and apparent lack of desire by the government to engage with agents and their software providers has resulted in an appeal system unfit for purpose, however the Valuation Office Agency tries to dress up the figures.

"With the 2017 rating revaluation producing some of the largest increases in liability in a generation, and 2018/9 and 2019/20 building up further rises, it appears this government has proved again that it neither understands the pressures facing businesses or has a willingness to act on calls to change."

Thousands of hotels snarled up in business rates red tape>>

‘Onerous' business rates appeal process accelerating the decline of businesses>>

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