Rising rates bills set to prompt more challenges

April 2018

Businesses are facing a double whammy with rates bills rising because of the slow pace of transitional relief on top of an increase in line with inflation.

The plight of business owners is aggravated by continuing problems surrounding the “check, challenge, appeal” (CCA) system set up by the government after the 2017 rates revaluation process to enable people to contest inaccuracies.

Adrian Smith, founder of AS Rating, said the higher bills are likely to prompt more people to use CCA, but the complications of a system widely branded as not fit for purpose are still a major deterrent.

He said: “There are still more than 150,000 appeals outstanding from the 2010 revaluation process. The numbers of checks, challenges and appeals from 2017 are still low but that is only because it is still so difficult for people to register their businesses and begin the process.

“There is a view within our sector that the government has achieved what it set out to do in terms of reducing the number of appeals and collecting more money.”

The new bills include an increase of 3 per cent in line with the Consumer Price Index from September 2017. Another issue is transitional relief, which brings the benefit of phasing in increases, but which also forces businesses to wait for their reductions.

Adrian said: “It’s hard to argue against the assertion that transitional relief creates a situation where businesses which are due a rates reduction are subsidising those which have had their rates increased.

“More businesses are contacting me and other professional rating surveyors because they have attempted to deal with matters themselves and they can’t. More issues will emerge as more businesses see the scale of the burden and the scale of the injustices. The system is even more complicated than when it was launched, and the bills are increasing.”