Government launches business rates revaluations consultation

29 June 2021 by
Government launches business rates revaluations consultation

The government has launched a consultation into the businesses rates system with plans for property revaluations every three years instead of five.

The consultation has been announced as part of the business rates review, which will conclude in the autumn.

Financial secretary to the treasury Jesse Norman said: "As our economy is recovering, we are supporting businesses to build back better.

"Proposals set out in this consultation would mean that valuations more quickly reflect how the economy is performing, making the business rates system more accurate and responsive, while balancing the burden for ratepayers."

The review, launched in July 2020, conducted a call for evidence which found more frequent revaluations to be a priority for respondents. The government has therefore set out specific proposals through the consultation on how a sustainable system of revaluations every three years might be achieved.

Property agency Colliers said it supported more frequent revaluations which would reflect changes in the market and ensure that assessments are more accurate.

However, John Webber, head of business rates at Colliers, said "certain caveats" in the proposals were a "cause for concern".

He highlighted that the government is now imposing a duty on rate payers to supply detailed information on an annual basis to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) about their properties, meaning a greater onus on rate payers and more paperwork for them to do on an annual basis, even before they can access the appeals system.

Secondly, the government is considering removing the "Check" part of the CCA Check, Challenge Appeal, because of the above, and will consider whether appeals will go straight into a Challenge for which the rate payer would need to submit a fee. Currently there are no fees payable until the appeal stage of CCA.

Thirdly, there are no plans to reduce the two-year gap between the Antecedent Valuation Date (AVD) and the issue of the new list. Webber said a one-year gap would give a fairer reflection on the market.

Finally, there are suggestions that MCC appeals will be consigned to history. These can be lodged if there is a 'material change of circumstances' such as physical changes to the property affecting its value.

Webber said: "My worry is the proposed system would increase the bar to appeal against unfair rating assessments, and thus reduce the number of appeals. The VOA will have no need to inspect properties – or maintain the list – that responsibility seems to have passed to every corner shop in the country.

"This reform seems to be less about helping the rate payer and more about benefitting the government and the VOA."

To share your views on the proposed changes take part in the consultation via the government website.

Photo: Willy Barton / Shutterstock

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