There has been much written by many regarding the iniquitous new Check-Challenge-Appeal Rating Appeal system, and the Valuation Office Agency has effectively underlined everyone’s thoughts by publishing figures in respect of Rateable Value appeals – 182,000 at this time in 2010, at the last Revaluation, and 5,650 this year. It is understood that only 3 cases have navigated the tortuous system and reached the final Appeal stage.
We have tried several times to register clients to start the process – agents cannot appeal assessments without the occupier first being registered. However, this is not straight forward and is extremely time consuming. In some cases, having loaded up numerous properties, the system has rejected registration and so it had to be done all over again. It would be incorrect to suggest that Government has built in a blocking system, but it is hard to believe that a system can be inadvertently so difficult to use.
Occupiers may not be aware that there was previously no obligation to notify the VOA that a property had been enlarged, and if they did not pick it up the assessment was not amended and rates were not payable. Now, in the Check part of the process it has become the obligation of the rate payer to make sure the property information is correct, and, therefore, if for example an extension has been overlooked it must now be disclosed and if it is not the ratepayer will be liable. So beware of rating consultants who promise much but could cost you dearly.