Business rates have been in the headlines the past few weeks right across the UK but the main focus has been on rate reliefs and some significant changes been voted through in Scotland.
Perhaps the Government was hoping to push out the quarterly update about the current 3-stage Check Challenge Appeal (CCA) business rates’ system whilst we were a bit distracted with Trump’s impeachment acquittal and the brewing Brexit “Cod War”; however they didn’t stay tucked away on the VOA website for long and the figures do not make happy reading.
The VOA’s figures show that since the new CCA system was introduced on 1 April 2017, 352,090 properties have registered and submitted evidence for “Approved Property Claims”. This proves to the VOA that you have a legal interest in the property and is a precursor to progressing to the “Appeal” part of the process. Industry experts are estimating that by April 2021, the UK will see a further 160,000 APCs being registered – adding another third to the overall tally that could top 500,000.
The stats also reveal 137,360 “Checks” have been registered since the last list began – roughly 40% of those that applied for an Approved Property Claim. If we go further into the CCA process there were 26,690 “challenges” registered. But, of that 26,690, only 9,700 (36%) have been resolved, the remaining 16,990 are either incomplete or outstanding.
Many people believe the CCA system is so onerous that each stage is almost designed to deter business from appealing their Rateable Value. The Government will claim it should only deter the more frivolous or time-wasting appeals that had been clogging up the old appeals system.
Regardless, with these kind of figures and a growing not diminishing backlog of cases it seems that tens of thousands of businesses will not see an outcome on their appeal before the new list is brought into play on April 1, 2021. The likelihood is that the vast majority will be waiting years for any kind of redress.
The full report and breakdown of statistics can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/863763/Background_Information.pdf