Business Rates changes cause controversy

Published on: 22nd February 2016

Ratepayers appeals that have already been delayed for several years whilst the hard-pushed Valuation Office Agency struggles to produce the 2017 Rating Revaluation now face the prospect of being deemed invalid or void due to a controversial Rating decision by the UK Supreme Court. 

Leading accountancy group Mazars were the subject of a Supreme Court decision last year due to the company owning offices on separate floors of a building. The court ruled that the floors should be treated as separate properties for business rates, a decision that significantly increased their rates bill.

In leaked documents made public by the Mail on Sunday it was revealed that in the future valuation officers should use the Woolway v Mazars case as a model for other companies, a decision that overturns practice that had previously been in place for over 50 years.

Any firms affected by the changes could face their current appeals being dismissed and would therefore be required to make new claims for each area of their premises.

Unless the government act quickly to change the law, ratepayers could stand to lose millions of pounds in anticipated rates rebates that should otherwise be forthcoming due to challenges in rateable value.

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Business Rates

Click here to find out how the 2017 revaluation will affect your business. Sanderson Weatherall Rating specialists are RICS and IRRV qualified surveyors that can offer a comprehensive range of Rating services to clients including Rating Appeals, Rating Valuations, Rates Management and Rates Audit, together with cutting edge advice on Empty Rates mitigation. Regarded as experts in the field, all our senior staff are members of the Rating Surveyors' Association and are able to offer the very best Rates advice on the accuracy of Rating assessments and resultant Business Rates liabilities. Through our experts' memberships of the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation we are also happy to assist clients who have international local property tax liabilities. We participate in the activities of both of these professional bodies at the highest level and negotiate with government on the introduction of all new non domestic rating proposals. The current 2010 Rating Revaluation took effect on 1st April 2010 and as s a result new rateable values and summary valuations were released. Sanderson Weatherall is ready and able to advising clients, old and new on the implications. Although these assessments have now been in place for just over five years, Rating appeals can still be submitted against the 2010 Rating List albeit with some new restrictions on backdating.Following the recent postponement of the planned 2015 revaluation, the 2010 list will now apply until March 2017. Please contact us for urgent Rates advice, as a well-considered appeal could make large savings in your annual Business Rates outgoings.   Contact Us

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Rates audit

As a business ratepayer, how do you know that the historic rates you have dutifully paid are correct? Sanderson Weatherall provides a specialist Rates Audit Service which, through meticulous research into past rate years, ensures both the accuracy of existing rates payments and investigates whether there are any credits resting in local authority holding accounts that should already have been refunded. These credits may consist of overpayments that should have been received in the form of refunds due to changes in occupation or rateable values. Interest and/or tax refunds are often due in certain circumstances on overpayments, together with a tax certificate, which enables a refund in tax already paid to be obtained from HM Revenues and Customs. Starting from scratch our experts recalculate what Business Rates payments should properly have been over past years to ascertain whether what clients have actually paid is correct. Our fees for this service are typically pure incentive based - if we find nothing, then you pay us nothing! Contact Us

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Rates management

"Left to their own devices, most recipients of a non-domestic rates demand will get out their pocket calculator and check that the arithmetic is correct, then sign it off for payment" The arithmetic always will be - as the bill comes out of a computer! There is however rather more to a Rates bill than that. Rates Management is an additional service that professionally qualified Rates Liability specialists at Sanderson Weatherall provide to a growing number of rating clients. We arrange to receive business rates bills directly from the local billing authority, ratify and authorise these over a very short timescale, before reporting back to the client. Every account is given a multi-point check to ensure validity and accuracy. Where possible, we can often renegotiate instalment payments to aid the client's cash flow. Based on available information and taking the often complex transitional arrangements into account, we can then work with our clients to produce timely and accurate budget forecasts. If required, we can also arrange for the client to put us in funds to effect the payment of rates accounts by cheque, direct debit, BACS or most other methods. By outsourcing the process of rates bills, we can save our clients considerable time and money. If you have ever tried in vain to contact the correct person at a local billing authority, you will know how difficult and time consuming this can be! (The hours just slip by!) Sanderson Weatherall liability experts deal regularly with the authorities concerned. Our fees for this service are always extremely cost effective and a quotation, tailored to the job in hand, can be provided on request. Contact Us

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