Further guidance on business rates’ relief and MCC rating appeals latest

By Stuart Hicks, Director

“Today notices are being issued by the Valuation Office Agency refusing appeals made against the current 2017 rating list that cite the effects of Covid-19 as being a Material Change of Circumstances. The notice sets out that: “The valuation officer is of the opinion that your proposal is not well-founded and disagrees with your proposed alteration. Consequently, the valuation officer has decided not to alter the list”. The notice makes clear that The Rating (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Act 2021 provides that the effects of Covid-19 must be disregarded.

“This seems particularly harsh at a time when a lockdown “by stealth” is severely affecting the hospitality sector and closed borders are damaging the aviation sector. And to point out that the COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund does not apply to those ratepayers in receipt of any of extended retail discount, nursery discount, or airport and ground operations support.

The Government has also issued the following guidance this week:

1. Following royal assent of the Bill, this guidance has now been released: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-additional-relief-fund-carf-local-authority-guidance

2. Business rates’ guidance: Extension of Transitional Relief and Supporting Small Business Relief for small and medium properties: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/business-rates-guidance-extension-of-transitional-relief-and-supporting-small-business-relief-for-small-and-medium-properties

3. Business rates’ guidance: 2022/23 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Relief Scheme: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/business-rates-guidance-202223-retail-hospitality-and-leisure-relief-scheme

The Government has also issued a guidance letter that covers the 2022/23 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Relief Scheme and the extension of transitional relief and Supporting Small Business Relief for Small and Medium Properties Scheme (as detailed above) as well as The Department for Education update and request for information: Business Rates Billing for maintained schools and academies: 9/2021: Business rates guidance – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)