Check your 2017 rates now or you’ll have to wait until April 2017
Earlier this week I presented at a seminar for the accountants Garbutt & Elliott in York. The topic was the 2017 Business Rates Revaluation and for such a dry subject there was a high attendance and 100% buy-in from my audience. The reason for this I think is because although it is a dry, stuffed shirt of a subject, there is an emotional tie-in from all business owners, landlords, and tenants. This emotional link is created due to the almost unanimous sense of unfairness from the ratepayer even if they are one of more than 600,000 business owners who will pay no rates at all from 1st April 2017.
Most ratepayers I speak to are annoyed that they get nothing for their business rates. Many see it as more of a tax for just being in business. Whatever your opinion however you have to pay it. Like most things though, the more you know about the rates process the more you can accept it. More importantly, the more you know about it the more likely you are understanding if you can apply for one of the many types of rate relief available, and the less likely to be wasting your time and money on an appeal likely to fail.
At the time of writing this in December 2016 time is running out to check your revaluation for 2017. The draft rates figure for each business in the country has been available since 30th September 2016. The rate bills are expected to start coming out from January 2017 and once they do there will be little hope of questioning the calculation until the new appeal process comes into operation in April 2017. The law requires you to pay your rate bill so if you feel it is wrong you could be paying a disputed bill for anything up to 18 months. It could even be longer as the new appeals process is untested. This new process is aimed at reducing the number of appeals as a high percentage (71% from the 2010 valuations) fail and waste the time of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) and the ratepayer.
The wise move is therefore to check your rates as soon as possible and if you notice there may be something wrong with the calculation contact the VOA as soon as possible. Don’t let January come along and feel as though you have missed your chance. Go online to www.gov.uk/correct-your-business-rates and follow the directions. One of the main changes in the appeals process from April 2017 is that you must get all your evidence and analysis together before you start arguing your case with the VOA. If you require assistance contact me. You may need to simply contact the VOA and correct a simple miscalculation or wrong information that they hold. If you need to take the appeal further though you will need professional help in preparing your case. Try and take the emotion out of the pain of paying a bill that you feel is unfair though by doing your homework first.
As we near April 2017 I will post more blogs to update how the process is progressing