Colliers: Number of appeals shows business rates system isn’t working

18th May 2023 | Jack Oliver

The latest government figures on business rates appeals show that the current system isn’t working, Colliers’ head of business rates has said.

16% (132,690) of checks (the first part of the appeal process) over the last six years were registered within the first three months of the year, nearly seven times as many as in the previous quarter.

Colliers’ John Webber said the figures represent how unhappy businesses are with their rates bills, especially as they are willing to negotiate the “complex” Check Challenge Appeal (CCA) system.

He added that resolving the appeals will need a large amount of dedicated time and resources from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).

“CCA was brought in to stem the number of appeals made and to process them quickly. Yet appeal figures are now averaging over 140,000 a year and are as high as ever. Businesses still remain bogged down trying to get them resolved”, said Webber.

There were over 1 million appeals registered in the seven years of the 2010 list, with the CCA introduced in April 2017 to satisfy demand and make the appeals process simpler.

“Appeal figures fell in the early days not because CCA was working, as the VOA claimed”, said Webber, “but because many businesses could not face the trauma of trying to negotiate the system and appeal their business rates. As the latest figures show, with similar numbers of appeals against the 2017 list as that of 2010, the discontent with business rates bills has not gone away.”

He added that the current figures would have been worse if businesses had not been given two-year business rates holidays during the Pandemic.

“The burden of business rates is too high and the lack of transparency about how their bills are arrived at is the root cause of this shocking number of people appealing their assessments”, he concluded.


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