Important Changes to English Rating Appeals

AIM is currently working with Colin Hunter and ES Group on a campaign for fairer business rates for museums. Colin Hunter is the author of the AIM Success Guide, Successfully Negotiating Business Rates, which you can download HERE

An article by Colin Hunter called ‘Appeal benefits restricted in the Autumn Statement’ can be found in the February edition of the AIM Bulletin.

On 3rd March 2015, a new set of regulations was set before the House of Commons.  In the AIM Bulletin article (page 4), Colin Hunter set out the fact that the regulations were about to be changed and we now have the details.

The following is a brief article by Colin Hunter that outlines these changes.

"Bolling Hall, Bradford" by David Spencer. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“Bolling Hall, Bradford” by David Spencer. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

As expected, the effect on ratepayer’s appeals will generally be restricted.  If appeals are made before midnight on the 31st March 2015 then they can be backdated to 1st April 2010, or a later date if there have been changes to the property.  From 1st April 2015 appeals will only be back-dateable to 1st April 2015 at the earliest.  Therefore any savings due from 1st April 2010 to 31st March 2015 will be lost if appeals are not made in time.

The Valuation Office (VO) can still backdate changes to 1st April 2010, or later until 31st March 2016, so if they have an extra year to make changes.  However the VO are currently looking at reasons to increase values, or for properties that have previously been missed.  They are also now talking about separately assessing museum shops and cafés previously included in the museums overall assessment.

There are two exceptions that will allow later appeals to be backdated.  If the Valuation Officer alters the List then an appeal made within 6 months of the alteration can be backdated.

The other exception is for appeals made due to decisions of Valuation Tribunals or higher courts, but the Decision must be made before 1st April 2015 and the appeal must be made within 6months of the Decision.  We are waiting for the outcome of appeals in respect of museums in York and Bradford.  The hearing was held on 23rd and 24th February 2015 and the decision is expected to be issued before 23rd March 2015 but there is no certainty the Decision will be made this month.

To protect the museum’s position, if an appeal is needed it should be made before 1st April 2015.  Missing that deadline could be very costly but take advice before the appeal is submitted.  So act now or risk losing up to 5 years of savings.

Colin Hunter MRICS IRRV (Hons)

Divisional Director

ES Group

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