The rates you pay on your business property depend on its ‘rateable value’. This is calculated by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). If you think the current value for your property is wrong you can:
- Appeal to the VOA and ask them to correct the details you think are wrong
- Appeal your rates if you and the VOA can’t agree (you do this through the Valuation Tribunal)
You must continue to pay your rates during the appeal. Telling VOA about material changes to your property may affect the rates you pay.
This information applies to England and Wales only – appeals are handled differently in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Before you appeal
The first step in appealing your business rates is to ask the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to check the details. This can change how much you pay for your business rates. If you think your rateable value is wrong:
- Check the details used to value your property
- Make a valuation enquiry
The VOA will change your rateable value if it’s wrong. They may need to visit your property.
A material change is a physical change to part or all of your property. This can change its rateable value.
Material changes can include:
- Changes to how the property is used
- New developments in the area
- New roads or changes to access routes
If the VOA becomes aware of a material change, they’ll look at how it affects the rental value and whether this means the rateable value needs to be adjusted.
Types of appeals
If you disagree with the rateable value set at revaluation, you can appeal against it. You must still pay your bill during the appeal.
Grounds for appeal
Grounds to appeal include:
- The valuation was wrong
- There has been a change to the property or area that should be shown in the rateable value
- A change made to the valuation by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is wrong
All the grounds fall into one of 12 categories. You can only appeal once on each of these.
If your rateable value is altered, you can appeal once against it. The rateable value is set every 5 years. This was last done on 1 April 2010.
Penalty notice appeals
You can get a penalty notice if you don’t give the VOA information they’ve asked you for to set their rateable value. If you get a penalty notice, you can appeal against it.
If you appeal, you don’t have to pay the penalty until after the appeal tribunal has made a decision. However, you may get more penalties during the appeals process.
Completion notice appeals
Your local council will give you one of these when it thinks that a new property:
- Is finished
- Can be finished by a certain date
This means you must start paying business rates on the property once the VOA has added it to the rating list (the list of all rateable values for non-domestic properties).
If you get a completion notice, you can appeal against it if you don’t agree.
Transitional certificate appeals
A transitional certificate is given when a valuation officer knows there is something wrong with the ratings list but can’t fix it. The certificate is given to show the correct amount in your business rates bill. You can appeal against the value of the transitional certificate but not against being given one.
How to appeal
If you think your rateable value is wrong, you can appeal to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA):
- By writing to your local office
After you submit your appeal
The VOA will tell you within 3 working days that they’ve received your appeal. There are several possible appeal results, including:
- The VOA will check the appeal is valid and tell you if it isn’t
- The VOA will contact you right away if you have financial hardship
- The VOA will contact you in 2 months if you’ve given information about a physical change to the property, a change in how the property is used or an exemption
- The VOA will group your appeal with the same type of cases and give you dates for when you can discuss your case with them
After you discuss your case with the VOA, they may agree to a change. If you can’t agree, you can take your case to the Valuation Tribunal.
Penalty notice and completion notice appeals
You can make a penalty notice or completion notice appeal directly on the Valuation Tribunal website.
The Valuation Tribunal
The Valuation Tribunal is a free service but you have to pay for your own costs, eg legal help, travel.
Before the hearing
You’ll be given between 4 and 10 weeks’ notice of your hearing date. If your case is urgent, your hearing can be earlier. You can:
- Appoint someone to argue for you at the tribunal – but you must let the Valuation Tribunal know
- Bring a witness to the tribunal
- Present any relevant evidence to the tribunal – including anything discussed between you and the Valuation Office Agency (VOA)
You should bring 5 copies of any documents you will give as evidence.
You have to submit your evidence to the VOA and the tribunal 6 weeks before the hearing. The VOA will respond to this 4 weeks before the hearing.
What happens at the tribunal
The hearing usually lasts about 45 minutes. The panel will decide who will present first. You and the VOA will present your cases and you, the VOA and the panel can all ask questions. You may then be able to sum up your case before the panel makes a decision.
There are usually 3 members of the Valuation Tribunal and a Valuation Tribunal Clerk. The representative of the VOA will also attend.
Tribunals are open to the public.
There is further guidance about the process on the Valuation Tribunal website.
If you can’t attend the tribunal
The tribunal can decide on your case in different ways.
Written statements or a ‘decision without a hearing’
The appeal is based only on the written statements submitted by you and the VOA or local council.
A hearing in your absence
You must submit any evidence you want the tribunal to consider at least 14 days before the hearing. The VOA can still attend the hearing.
If you don’t inform the tribunal of your absence, they can dismiss your appeal.
The Valuation Tribunal will tell you of their decision by post, about a month after the hearing.
Appealing the decision
You can the appeal the tribunal decision to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Tribunal). You can only do this if you attended or were represented at the hearing.
You must give notice in writing to the Upper Tribunal within 4 weeks of the date of the decision.
The Upper Tribunal (Lands Tribunal)
43-45 Bedford Square
Make a complaint against the Valuation Tribunal Service
To complain about the way the tribunal was held:
- Tell the clerk during the tribunal
- Make a complaint by writing to the office administering the tribunal
At any point you can ask your MP to refer your complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman for investigation.At Bizorb we aim to provide the most accurate and up to date information to you. This article contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0. If you spot any errors in this article please let us know.