Government push ahead with one-sided rating appeals reforms

By Stuart Hicks, Director

In 2016 I commented on the Government’s proposals to introduce discretion into the appeal process, well one-sided discretion, with appeals being refused if the reduction in assessment determined was not big enough.

The Government has pushed this forward… stating that after ‘listening’ the revised approach to rating appeals will be that “the Valuation Tribunal England will be required to decide whether they consider the extant valuation to be a reasonable valuation” before ordering that the rating list is amended with a reduced rateable value. This wording replaces the original proposal of an appeal succeeding only if it is “outside the bounds of reasonable professional judgement”.

 This is inequitable, poor and imprecise law and I foresee trouble with legal challenges ahead if reductions in rateable value do not result in rating lists being altered. After all, what is a “reasonable valuation”…?

The Government intends to carry out a review of the implementation of the overall package of reforms under “Check, Challenge and Appeal” by 2019. This will enable them to consider the impact of this specific measure, and to assess the overall effectiveness of the new framework – including the Valuation Office Agency’s performance in delivering a more efficient and streamlined appeals system for ratepayers. In other words have they managed to “squash” the ratepayer!

The Government’s full response can be found here.