by Jennifer Brooke, BCA Executive Director
“Obscene”, “Wholly unfair”, “Outrageous”
These are just some of the terms used to describe the government’s latest proposed changes to Business Rates.
Ahead of next April’s rating revaluation, we have been anticipating the arrival of two consultation papers from the Government for discussion and implementation.
One of these documents, relating to the ‘Check, Challenge, Appeal’ process, was released last week, and it included one simply outrageous new proposal.
The proposed changes would effectively outlaw appeals in England, condemning hundreds of thousands of firms to overpaying their rates bills, even when they can prove they should be lower. Under the reforms, appeals against 2017 rating assessments which fall ‘within the bounds of reasonable professional judgement’ can be dismissed, leaving businesses with limited means to challenge their assessments.
This is the latest in a series of Government propositions, which could condemn ratepayers in England, who already pay the highest local property tax in the world, to excessive business rates.
Jerry Schurder, Head of Business Rates at Gerald Eve: “I am very concerned that, if the draft legislation is introduced, we could arrive at a position where a ratepayer could be required to over-pay tax by 10%, or even more in some cases, for a period of up to five years because of a statutory restriction on the right of The Valuation Tribunal for England [VTE] to correct matters.”
What Happens Now?
Together with Gerald Eve and other senior rating surveyors, the BCA is appealing directly to government ministers Sajid Javid and Marcus Jones, among others, to express our very serious concerns about the proposals.
What Can You Do?
In the next two weeks BCA Trade Partner Gerald Eve, together with the BCA are preparing a letter which BCA Members can use to formulate and submit a response to the consultation. In the meantime, you may contact your MP and let them hear your outrage to this proposal.