Government Consults on Business Rates Revaluations

The Government has published a specific consultation concerning the shortening of non-domestic rating revaluations from five to three years or less, as part of the Fundamental Review of Business Rates. The final report is due to be published this Autumn (2021).

Moving to more frequent revaluations has often been lobbied for by ratepayers and their advisors on the ground that it would increase the accuracy of assessments - which are currently based on historical rental values, as at 1 April 2015.

The consultation document seeks responses from interested parties by 24 August 2021. It outlines various proposals designed to enable the Valuation Office (VO) to undertake a faster revaluation cycle. These include:    

  • All ratepayers will have a Duty to Notify the Valuation Officer of any physical or use changes to their property, irrespective of whether they intend to Challenge their assessment or not. This would include an Annual Confirmation Return.
  • All ratepayers will have a Mandatory Provision of Rent and Lease Information (including trade and cost information, where relevant). At present, this is only supplied when the VO specifically requests it
  • Subject to compliance with the above
    • A deadline on Challenges to assessment of three months will be imposed, from the start of the Rating List
    • The landlord’s right to Challenge will be removed. N.B. Ratepayers or other interested persons (e.g. landlords with a reversionary interest) currently have up to the expiry of the List in which to lodge a Check/Challenge
  • Imposing a non-refundable fee for a preliminary Transparency Request (analysis of relevant rental evidence used to set RV), plus a fee for submitting a Challenge, refundable only in the event of a decision in the case in favour of the ratepayer   
  • Allowing the Valuation Officer two years and nine months to settle Challenges.

We believe these measures will reduce the rights of ratepayers and other interested persons quite significantly.

In our view, rather than ‘delivering a fairer and more responsive system’, introduction of these supporting measures will impose greater responsibility on the ratepayer whilst simultaneously curtailing their ability to Challenge the accuracy of their tax bill.

Responses to these proposals can be made via the following link:

https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/morefrequentrevals

The consultation document can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/hm-treasury-fundamental-review-of-business-rates-call-for-evidence

If you are not already advised on such matters, please contact a member of the Matthews & Goodman’s Business Rates Advisory team and we would be happy to discuss this issue with you.

NORTH: Mark Paterson     SOUTH: Chris Morrow

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