Business rates: a financial ticking time bomb (Part 1)
If you are one of a growing number of businesses facing financial crisis following the business rates revaluation earlier this year, options for reducing your outgoings to keep the business afloat are likely to be high on your list of priorities. You may also have thought about whether you can challenge your assessment or take advantage of available exemptions or reliefs.
In the first of a two-part series of articles on this subject, Mark Parnall director with Parnalls in Launceston, looks at the circumstances in which a challenge may be possible.
The second article will look at available exemptions and reliefs, options for reducing your overheads and the process you will need to go through if you decide your business is no longer financially viable.
Challenging an assessment
If you think that the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) has got the rateable value of your property wrong, then you can query this by raising the matter with them and asking for a review. To do this, you will need to go through a structured process known as ‘check, challenge, appeal’.
The check part of the process requires you to identify the property being queried and examine a series of facts that the VOA will have relied upon in assessing rateable value. This checking process needs to be completed within 12 months from the date on which a check was first initiated. If any of the facts relied on by the VOA are found to be inaccurate, a request for reassessment can be made.
If the facts are correct, but the rateable value is still believed to be wrong, a formal challenge can be brought but this must be done within four months of the checking process being completed.
A challenge will require you to:
- confirm the grounds on which you say the assessment is wrong;
- suggest an alternative rateable value or rating list entry, as appropriate; and
- provide evidence to support the alternative suggestion(s) made.
It is important to frame your challenge appropriately and obtain comprehensive and compelling evidence at this stage as, save for in limited circumstances, the grounds for challenge and evidence submitted in support will not be allowed to be amended or extended upon during the challenge process. In addition, if an appeal against the VOA’s ultimate decision is required it is only the grounds for challenge and evidence provided in support to the VOA that will be considered by the appeal tribunal. For this reason, Mark Parnall suggests that before you embark on a challenge, you seek advice and guidance from your solicitor and a ratings surveyor about what is needed to present your case in the best possible light.
Advice is also suggested at this stage to ensure that everything is presented correctly, and is capable of full substantiation, given that there are penalties for knowingly, recklessly or carelessly providing evidence which is ultimately shown to be false.
A response to your challenge will be provided and negotiations can then commence to try to resolve the matter. If an agreement cannot be reached, the VOA will issue a reasoned decision which you are free to either accept or reject. This should be done within 18 months of the challenge being made.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of the challenge, you can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal Service. This must be done within four months of the VOA decision being made or after 18 months have expired from the date on which the challenge was initiated. Again, if an appeal looks likely it is important that you seek legal advice to protect your position and ensure all relevant evidence is presented on your behalf, including any new evidence which may have come to light since your challenge to the VOA was determined.
A fee of between £150 to £300 will be payable at the appeals stage, but will be reduced by a third if the matter can be dealt with without the need for an in-person hearing and will be fully refunded in the event your appeal is successful.
For further advice on challenging a rateable value assessment, or for any other business property related dispute, please contact Mark Parnall on 01566 772375 or email email@example.com
Please note that this article details the appeals procedure in England only.
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
Has your personal information been shared without your permission?
Planning your escape to the country, what you need to consider – part 2
Government consultation on new national model for shared ownership
Choosing a partnership structure
Planning for what happens when you die by Deborah Adams
Changes to legislation could offer protection for tenants in the private rental sector
Move to the country - Part One
The risks of DIY probate
Will your septic tank still be legal in January?
The death knell for ‘kiss and tell’?
Making a will when you retire
Selling your property at auction
Not looking so good - your guide to compensation for botched non-surgical cosmetic procedures
New threshold of seriousness in defamation proceedings
Legal considerations when building a granny annex
Choosing the right person for your power of attorney
Formal Interviews - Do you need legal representation?
Privacy rights and aerial images
Trustees’ duty to give information to beneficiaries
Five problems with a leasehold property
Taking your first commercial lease
Is your organisation protected from employee social media legal risk?
Have you been targeted by negative social media posts?
Farmers be alert when being inspected
Help for House Sellers?
Don’t let your digital assets end up in a digital grave
Valuing an estate for probate
Development proposals and your local authority search
What can you do if your child is injured in a serious accident
NetRights welcomes new protection for social media users
SHOULD I GET A LAWYER FOR A SPEEDING OFFENCE?
Supreme Court recognises that social media is a “casual medium” in libel battle
Choosing the best conveyancer who is right for you
Making a will after a second or subsequent marriage
Option or promotion agreement – which is best for landowners?
Anonymous pub and restaurant online reviews leave a bad taste
Have you had an accident involving a horse?
Help to Buy – beware of some cracks in the structure
Understanding Lasting Powers of Attorney
Changes to Energy Performance Certificate for Landlords
Had a cycling accident? Your route to obtaining compensation
New year, new home: tips to sell your home in the New Year
Tax Planning for your inheritance
Hearing loss: when your employer may be liable
Buying a home for your retirement, five things you need to consider
Farmers plan to diversify after Brexit
Ministers press ahead with probate fee shake-up - reports BBC News
Botched dental treatment? You may be entitled to compensation
Why a Health and Welfare Power of Attorney is a good idea
Will the new charge on building developments in Cornwall affect you?
Energy Performance Certificates – Do They Matter?
HMRC Challenging Stamp Duty Land Tax Payments
Ben Mitchell qualifies as a solicitor
The potential implications of Brexit on employment law
Appointing a guardian for your children
Houses in multiple occupation – new rules from October 2018
New Agriculture Bill published
Will Brexit affect my pension?
Dreaming of a holiday home? Sort out the legals before putting your feet up
Lasting Power of Attorney by Deborah Adams
Settled status after Brexit by Alexis Hager
How to choose an executor to administer your estate when you die
How overage agreements can boost profits from your land
Top tips for first-time buyers
How Could Brexit Affect My Farm?
Wills & Succession in Spain by Deborah Adams
Brexit – an international and local view by Alexis Hager, Litigation
Capital gains tax - important facts for non-residents of the UK
Buying a home: the importance of making sure the seller is entitled to sell
Changing a will after someone has died: it is possible and it could save you money
Your responsibilities when you have people working in your home
Sad passing of Battle of Britain pilot who served with Parnall family member
Considerations when buying a heritage property
Disciplinary proceedings at work: guide for employers
Employers should have a disciplinary process in place, but just following this may not be enough to avoid falling foul of the law and exposing yourself to the risk of an employment tribunal claim.