Covid-19 pandemic leads to rush for business rate appeals

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to more than 50,000 extra appeals being lodged by Scottish businesses against their business rates.

Thousands of Scottish firms are still waiting to hear on their appeals due to a huge backlog in the business rates’ appeal system. Many have been lodged due to the sudden change in trading sparked by the pandemic, that has led to more than 50,000 Material Change in Circumstances (MCC) appeals being made to the Scottish Assessors.

However, the new wave of appeals prompted this summer are being put behind an existing backlog that faced the Scottish Assessors even before the Covid-19 crisis unfolded.

The latest stats won’t make comfortable reading for the Scottish Government which only recently pushed back the next revaluation of business rates by 12 months to April 2023.

Experts fear that unless the backlog is dealt with many businesses will be driven to the wall before the revaluation can take effect. Ideas being floated to ease the tax burden include an extension of the current business rates holiday that was given to the retail, hospitality and leisure businesses as part of Covid-19 support measures. That relief is due to expire on April 1, 2021.