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Last edited 12 Mar 2018
Check, challenge, appeal
On 1st of April 2017 a new business rates appeal process system was introduced in England known as the check, challenge and appeal (CCA). The VOA (Valuation Office Agency) is the administrative body which deals with checks and challenges; whereas, appeals are handled by the Valuation Tribunal for England.
The new system that was introduced brought in a completely new process for both the ratepayer as well as their agent.
This is the initial part of the business rates appeal process, where all factual information regarding property prior to challenging the assessment is evaluated.
A check includes determining whether the rateable value annually matches what you actually pay, as well as whether or not the areas you are being valued on are correct, or even if any properties surrounding you have had a successful appeal. Material change may also affect the appeal, such as new developments in the area, new roads or removal of access routes, change of use and even competitors.
Once established, you can submit it to the Valuation Office. They have up to 12 months to consider the appeal and respond.
After a verification of the facts (which includes a detailed assessment and valuation) a ‘Statement of Case’ needs to be presented to the VO in order to actually challenge the business rates and change the Rateable Value . In simplified terms, a Statement of Case is civil litigation which sets out your case. It is known as ‘pleading’ before a Civil Procedure Rules.
From this, the VO will issue a decision based on this document. If the decision agrees with the proposed valuation and reduces the assessment accordingly, then the matter will be considered closed. However, if the VO does not agree then you have the right to appeal this through the Valuation Tribunal.
An appeal to the Valuation Tribunal can only be lodged once the process has been completed with the VO. Which can mean a long process if your case does fail, however, if your case proceeds to an appeal you have the right to present it to an independent panel.
The VO’s decision will be cross-examined and explored during this process, hopefully producing a more satisfactory outcome. Whether that is the case or not, the Valuation Tribunal has 28 days following the proceedings in order to issue their own decision.
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