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Your Shout: Michael Yass, Fleurets

23 November 2004

The rateable values of all licensed and commercial properties in England and Wales are to be reviewed with effect from 1 April 2005 and the Valuation Office Agency

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by Michael Yass, head of rating at chartered surveyor Fleurets
(VOA), the organisation responsible for assessing rateable values, has published the 2005 Draft Rating List on its website, [www.voa.gov.uk. The early publication of the 2005 rateable values allows licensees to budget ahead for their business rates liability from 1 April and obtain advice as to whether the proposed 2005 rateable value is reasonable or excessive. However, there is some concern over the standard of advice being provided by a number of "rating experts". I continue to receive phone calls from individuals who have been approached by seemingly competent organisations, requesting an administration charge upfront in order to serve an appeal on the VOA to challenge the rating assessment of any property. I have seen some agreements that have referred to appeals served for as far ahead as 2009, so that the "expert" company can claim a fee for any reduction in rateable value achieved until this time. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation and the Rating Surveyors Association have prepared a Rating Consultancy Code of Practice to try and regulate companies providing advice concerning rating appeals and general business rates matters. The code requires that each company providing advice stipulates what service will be provided in the terms and conditions, and explains the basis of any charges. Anyone asked to sign a contract committing themselves to an upfront or administration fee should think carefully before signing. Michael Yass, tel: 020 7636 8992
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