The Government’s recent u-turn on plans to change the existing business rates appeals process has been welcomed by commercial property agent Prop-Search.
There had been wide-spread fear amongst the property industry that the proposed changes would create more red tape and bureaucracy, as well as compound problems for occupiers seeking to appeal their business rates. In an open letter, the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) confirmed “the Government has decided to fold the consideration of reform of the business rates appeals process into the broader review of business rates administration.”
Chris Billson, a Director of Prop-Search, said: “The Government's decision not to proceed with the planned changes to the business rates appeal procedure is positive news for the ratepayer and a victory for common sense.”
“The proposed changes would have made it more difficult for ratepayers to appeal and was completely unnecessary. However, some fundamental changes are needed to the rating system, but changing the appeal procedure mid-way through the rating list was not the answer. The Government needs to listen to the concerns voiced by ratepayers and the professionals working in the industry to ensure that suitable procedures are in place for the 2017 list."
The Governments discussion paper on the administration of the business rates system says that it is looking to “open up a discussion with a view to reforming the system after the next revaluation in April 2017.” The discussion paper covers five elements of the current system: how property is valued, how often properties are valued, how business rates bills are set out, how business rates are collected, and how information is used. As well as being informative, the paper sought responses to 23 questions addressing issues concerning the administration of the system.
Chris Billson concludes: “Although the Government has committed to continue with a property tax based on rental values, through this discussion paper, it would appear that they are prepared to examine alternative concepts.”
Further information or advice can be obtained from Prop-Search - Tel: 01933 223300 / 01604 492000 or its website: www.prop-search.com