Calling all business ratepayers! There is a new way to contest your 2017 Rateable Values
Did you know that there is a new process in order to challenge your property assessments as of April next year? It’s called the ‘Check. Challenge. Appeal.’ process and it means businesses setting up Government Gateway accounts.
It might seem confusing, but business rent and rates specialists CVS are on hand to help.
CVS recently met with the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to discuss the new process which will replace the existing appeals process, creating huge change not only for rating agents like themselves, but most importantly for UK businesses seeking to pay accurate and fair rates bills for the next five years.
When you receive your 2017 Rateable Value- which will ultimately form the basis of how your rates bills are calculated- the only way to contest the assessment will be by way of the ‘Check. Challenge. Appeal.’, or CCA, process.
The ‘Check’ stage involves reviewing the valuation of the property and confirming the factual elements relating to its physical aspects, for example, property measurements. CVS was informed by the VOA that it could take between 3 and 12 months to complete this stage.
It’s important for businesses to note that the ‘Challenge’ stage must be instigated within 4 months of the ‘Check’ stage being completed. Again, CVS was informed that this second stage could take up to 18 months to conclude. This is because this stage involves reviewing the non-physical aspects of the valuation, for example, rental or trade evidence.
Businesses (or acting professional rating agents) must put forward a substantive case, with detailed supporting evidence to the Valuation Office Agency to explain exactly why the Rateable Value is deemed incorrect.
CVS Surveyors are experts in their field and will truly excel for clients. They’re trained and experienced in compiling detailed case reports on behalf of businesses, and they are fully aware of the length of detail needed in order for the VOA to appreciate the appeal.
What’s more, the provision of false information during the ‘Check’ or ‘Challenge’ stages may attract VOA-enforced penalties of up to £500.
If the formal decision of the VOA is not accepted then the final ‘Appeal’ stage may be initiated within 4 months. This involves the submission of an appeal to the Valuation Tribunal for an independent panel to hear the evidence of both parties and make a decision on whether the Rateable Value should be reduced.
The Valuation Tribunal will charge a fee of up to £300, which will be refunded if the appeal is successful.
The Government Gateway
The Government Gateway allows individuals and companies to access national and local online government services safely and securely.
In order for the ‘Check. Challenge. Appeal’ process to be instigated, the VOA will require you, the ratepayer, to complete a two stage registration process as of 1 April 2017. This is not something which acting rating agents like CVS can do on your behalf.
A personal account must be created for security purposes via the Government Gateway. Once the verification procedure has been passed, you will be able to access the Valuation Office’s secure website to set up an online account for your business.
You’ll then be able to link your account to your premises’ entry in the Rating List in order to access the valuation details. Depending on the property type, the Valuation Office may require proof of occupation, in the form of a rates bill or a lease, before the valuation details can become accessible.
At this point, you can then invite your business rates agent or property management agent to access the Rating List details for your premises so that they may begin the CCA process on your behalf.
Change is coming
The CCA process is being rolled out as of 1 April 2017 and, thereafter, the Valuation Office Agency will introduce improvements to allow Rating Agents to take on the administration of clients’ property portfolios.