Property professionals and rating specialists are stepping up their efforts to tackle the confusion around rates revaluation which is hitting some businesses in the pocket.
Top of their list of concerns is the new check, challenge and appeal system which is paralysing the investment plans of some companies because of its continued complexity.
Adrian Smith of AS rating said: “The rates revaluation which took effect on 1 April this year has created various anomalies and left some people facing higher bills because of inaccurate rateable values.
“In theory, the amounts can be challenged using the Valuation Office Agency website, but in practice there are business owners who don’t have the time or the technical skills to work through what is a complicated process.”
The General Election added to the delays to address the problems, with professional bodies postponing events organised to examine the changes. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has placed the check, challenge and appeal system at the top of its agenda for a conference in September. The Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation (IRRV) is expected to discuss rates revaluation at its annual conference in October.
Adrian, founder and owner of Adrian Smith Rating, will provide feedback to both organisations and is hopeful that changes will result from other practitioners facing similar experiences.
He said: “When the changes took effect the Chancellor said that businesses which lost small business rate relief would have their increases limited to £600. We warned at the time that this interpretation was incorrect, and we have since been approached by clients who are being asked to pay more.
“We have other clients who are being forced to delay property refurbishment projects, partly because of disputes over the rateable value of premises which are not yet fit for purpose but also because the new system is not even up to date about who owns the building!
“Before embarking on the new process to check a rateable value and then consider whether to challenge it and appeal against it, a business owner must register on the Valuation Office Agency website.
“Unlike the procedure with other taxes, they even have to register themselves before they can appoint an agent to investigate the matter. It’s a complex process which could put some people off checking. There will be business owners who have no idea of what is involved and therefore no idea whether their payments are correct.”