Monday, October 25, 2021

Business rates battle continues as appeals likely to take years to resolve

The controversy over the new business rates has been further intensified this morning as it was revealed that revaluation complaints could take years to resolve.

Last year the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), tasked with handling appeals, dealt with just 64,000. 

The backlog now stands at 280,000 and the number of new appeals is set to skyrocket when the new rates are introduced.

Following the most recent rates revaluation seven years ago, the VOA has revealed that it received 1.04 million appeals. It has resolved around 73 per cent of these, with 29 per cent resulting in changes.

This news comes amid heightened tensions on both sides, with business organisations calling on the government to scrap the new rates stating that many businesses will see their bill double. 

The government hit back yesterday, accusing them of “scaremongering” and said just a quarter of businesses will be worse off.

READ MORE: Business leaders demand fairer tax system for high street retailers

“The VOA is swimming upstream against a system which quite clearly doesn‘t work for them. To add insult to injury, they‘re being forced to slash a third of their resources by 2020,” said CVS property consultant Mark Rigby, who managed appeals for businesses.

“I am utterly perplexed as to how our government is allowing the VOA, which provides an invaluable service to businesses, be starved of the support it so clearly needs. 

“It‘s time the government focused on resourcing the VOA – supporting them to clear the backlog of appeals so that we can begin the next rating list with a clean slate.”

A spokesperson for the government responded: “We are not preventing anyone from appealing their bills, or setting any margin of error for appeals being heard.

“We‘re reforming the appeals process to make it easier for businesses to check, challenge and appeal their bills, while at the same time generous business rate reliefs mean thousands more businesses are seeing a reduction. From April, 600,000 businesses will pay no rates at all.”

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