Businesses hit by the controversial rates revaluation process could find support as the agency behind the changes comes under pressure to improve its services.
Adrian Smith of AS Rating said benefits could also result from local authorities now adopting the cap on business rates increases of £600 which was promised in the March budget – but Adrian warned that more needs to be done.
He said: “Rates revaluation has been handled very badly and has been condemned nationwide as a shambles. There is now evidence of measures being taken to ease the burden on businesses, but for many it is too little too late.”
Adrian warned six months ago that companies which lost small business rate relief could end up paying increases of more than £600 because of the impact of the real terms transitional relief cap.
He said: “It appears that problem is now being resolved in some areas where local authorities have applied the £600 cap. But many businesses are still finding it almost impossible to use the online system set up by the Valuation Office Agency to handle appeals.”
The VOA’s “check, challenge, appeal” procedure starts with a registration process which has been criticised as lengthy, complicated and likely to deter people from using the system.
Adrian said: “The online facility has been branded widely as not fit for purpose and there are reports that the VOA is now receiving support from HMRC to make improvements.
“We have been inundated with requests for help since we began alerting people to the problems of rates revaluation more than a year ago, and we continue to support clients in trying to get their business rates set at a level which is fair to everybody.”