In an official letter to the Treasury, the Government’s reforming plans of business rates’ appeals have been criticised by Colliers International for the more confrontational, litigious and costly system it will create.
It’s believed the government are analysing feedback from a two-month consultation regarding the rates’ system, which it believes would make a “quicker, clearer and more transparent service.”
Colliers however have claimed the proposed changes will reduce the rights of ratepayers to challenge their assessments.
Head of Rating at Colliers, John Webber, said we are in a “culture of appeals” and that the government should consider a three yearly revaluation.
Mr. Webber commented on the letter: “Given there is in excess of 289,000 outstanding business rates’ appeals, it is in everyone’s best interests to reform the system. But what we mustn’t do is create a scheme which almost prevents a ratepayer from challenging an assessment.”
“Business needs certainty and deserves equality – two major planks of any system of taxation. Colliers’ proposals to move to three-yearly revaluation will reduce the level of appeals, while making it easier for legitimate challenges to business rates’ assessments to be dealt with more efficiently.”
Colliers’ Manifesto for Business Rates Reforms is as follows:
1. More frequent revaluations, three-yearly, at least, by 2023
2. VOA to get increased funding to help deal with the existing backlog of appeals’
3. Release VOA from pressure exerted by local council and HM Treasury
4. Introduce a register of appeals professionals – removing the ‘cowboy’ element
5. Iron out inequalities where small business pays higher proportion in business rates
6. Root and branch reform of current business rates exemptions and reliefs