How to challenge your business rates

What is the rateable value of a business?

The rateable value represents the open market rental value of a property at the set valuation date, which for the current rating list is 1 April 2008. Information on how rateable values are calculated can be found on the VOA website.

What are the main details that could impact a change in a premise’s rateable value?

Significant changes in the property or in the locality may impact on the rateable value of a property. 

What about estimated values for new developments?

Estimated valuations are based only on the information provided and without inspection – this would be made clear at the time the estimate was provided. A final valuation will be made when the development is completed and will reflect the actual property. Any variations from the proposed development will mean that the final valuation may differ from the estimate.

What is the first step businesses should take if they think there’s an issue with the way they’re property has been valued?

If anyone thinks their rateable value may be incorrect they should contact the VOA in the first instance to discuss their case. If they are still dissatisfied they are able to make an appeal and details of the appeal route can be found on the VOA’s website. 

What forms do these challenges take?

A challenge is defined as a formal proposal by the ratepayer to alter the rating list entry. Typically attributable to a challenge to the assessed rateable value or a change of circumstance of the property as well as physical changes in the locality. Formal challenges consist of both Interested Person Proposals and appeals. A challenge only becomes an appeal when the proposal is referred to the Valuation Tribunal Service.

Is there anything businesses need to keep in mind when making an appeal? 

Information on making an appeal is available on the website and this can be done online. Ratepayers should be aware that the VOA will review the valuation of the property following appeal and will correct any errors, in some cases this can result in an increase to an assessment.

There are no legal costs in appearing at a Valuation Tribunal

What evidence is commonly submitted to these hearings?

There is a requirement for cases which are heard at a Valuation Tribunal to submit a Statement of Case prior to the hearing and in accordance with the timetable set by the Valuation Tribunal for England.

How many appeals were made in the last financial year?

The number of formal challenges to the 2010 Local Rating List for England and Wales in the 2013-14 financial year was 98,320 compared with 117,170 in 2012-13.

The VOA cleared over 400,000 appeals over the last two financial years and continues to work very hard to clear our caseload. We’re well aware of how significant business rates are to all businesses. To date, over 70 per cent of all appeals against the 2010 list have resulted in no change to the rateable value.

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