New streamlined business rates appeals process

The government is set to streamline the business rates bills appeals process, following a consultation which reported a clear need for change.

The new ‘check, challenge, appeal’ process, announced by Secretary of State Greg Clark, is designed to prevent speculative appeals and make sure genuine disputes are settled more quickly.

At present, the vast majority of cases do not lead to a successful appeal and fewer than 2% of the business rates appeals proceed to a tribunal hearing.

Reforming the system to reassure ratepayers

With the move towards a future where councils are self-sufficient, retaining 100% of local taxes by 2020, it is essential that business rates disputes are settled efficiently.

Businesses will now go through a 3-stage process:

  • Check – ensuring the relevant facts are up to date and accurate, with any agreed errors quickly corrected. For the vast majority of ratepayers it is expected that this check stage will be complete in a matter of days.
  • Challenge – allowing the business to challenge the rateable value on which their business rates bill is based, giving them the opportunity to set out their grounds for challenging, an alternative valuation and to put forward supporting evidence – it is expected that the great majority of cases to be resolved by this point.
  • Appeal – offering the opportunity to appeal to an independent valuation tribunal.