New Business Rates system will cause severe problems

The Business rates reforms “will remove ability to appeal” against bills

“The new three-stage business rates appeal system will all but remove the ability to appeal against rating bills, property firm Colliers International has claimed.

It said the ‘check, challenge, appeal’ system launched for consultation last month would prevent valuation tribunals from amending the rateable value of a business unless it is “outside the bounds of reasonable professional judgement”.

John Webber, Colliers’ head of rating, said this meant there was in effect a 20% margin of error allowed in estimates that could not be challenged, which “is going to pile tens of millions of pounds on to business rates bill.
“At a time when many firms, particularly in London and the south east, can expect their bills to skyrocket, this adds insult to injury.”

He said the new regulations would also have a significant impact on material change in circumstance appeals, which usually concerned reductions of less than 10% and so would effectively disappear in the new system by being within “bounds of professional judgment”.

Mr Webber said: “This clear infringement of a ratepayer’s right to appeal their rateable value must not be allowed to form part of the government’s business rates’ appeals’ whitewash. These proposed regulations are very draconian.”

He urged businesses to respond to the consultation by protesting against the proposal.”