By Stuart Hicks, Director
Business rate appeals have fallen 90% in the first full year of the new Check Challenge Appeal system, according to figures out.
The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) statistics reveal that there were 23,770 checks lodged after one year of the 2017 list, compared with 234,210 appeals lodged after one year of the 2010 list.
It would seem that the Government’s intention to bring in a new system that would cut the number of speculative appeals has worked but it also begs the question how many businesses have been put off from appealing due to the complexity of CCA?
As one member of the House of Lords put it a few months ago HMRC has devised a system “…which requires the most tortuous and demanding ratepayer registration that could possibly have been devised and, separately but in parallel, an equally tedious system for rating agents to register.” The Earl of Lytton went on to call the new system an “aberration”.
Criticism withstanding, CCA was implemented and now it would seem the VOA is at least enjoying the appeal respite, as much as businesses are disliking the almost impenetrable system.
The hope was that CCA would become more streamlined to suit our modern working practices but most of the stakeholders I have spoken to, or read analysis on, agree it isn’t working as well as intended.
The one bright spot on this latest update relates to those who have been brave enough to start the CCA process and that is the number of successful appeals has increased.
The number of checks settled after one year has risen by 60% and, of the 18,400 checks settled, a total of 13,230 have been agreed or partially agreed, an overall success rate of 72%.
I am sure the Government will seize on these figures as a vindication that CCA is working as they intended – perhaps, but I’m not so confident that business interests are really being served as well as the VOA’s cut in workload.