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The Appeal Process and Appeal Timescales Explained – 2023 Rating List – England

The 2023 Rating List is scheduled to run for the period 1st April 2023 to 31st March 2026 with Rateable Values based on rental values as at 1st April 2021. There are a number of grounds upon which a ratepayer can appeal against a business rates assessment and we explain the appeal process and timescales below.

Fundamental reforms have been announced for the 2026 Revaluation and beyond but for the duration of the 2023 Rating List, the appeal process closely mirrors the system that was in place under the 2017 Rating List.

The appeal process is split into three stages; Check, Challenge & Appeal.

Check
The Valuation Office have upto 12 months to consider but aim to conclude within 3 months

There are 2 parts to a property’s valuation:

  1. The factual details, such as the floor areas and number of rooms
  2. The value of them
 
If you want to challenge the value, you first need to agree the correct factual details with the VOA. This is called a ‘Check’. This Check stage is designed to deal with all issues of a factual nature, including properties that have undergone or are undergoing works.
 

Once a check has been submitted the Valuation Office will review the changes detailed in the Check and amend the rateable value where they are in agreement. The VOA have upto 12 months to issue a Check Decision Notice but aim to clear the vast majority of Check cases within 12 weeks of the date of submission.

Challenge
The Valuation Office have upto 18 months to conclude

Once a Check has been concluded by the Valuation Office there is a 4-month window of opportunity to then Challenge the basis of valuation and/or deal with any factual issues which weren’t agreed at Check stage. For material changes, such as disturbance caused by neighbouring building works, the submission window is 16 months to allow additional time for the gathering of evidence relating to the material change.

The ratepayer and/or their agent can only move to Challenge following the completion of the Check stage. The onus is on the ratepayer to set out their case to the Valuation Office as to why the current rating list entry is incorrect before the VOA will then respond setting out what evidence they have relied upon to set the Rateable Value. The Challenge stage allows the appellant to file more detailed submissions including their valuation, case law, legal arguments, rental and comparable evidence to support their case.

Once the appellant and Valuation Office have set out their positions there is an opportunity for discussions with a view to reaching a negotiated settlement. Following conclusion of those discussions, the Valuation Office will issue a Challenge Decision Notice. The Valuation Office have upto 18 months to conclude a Challenge case and in our experience the vast majority of Challenges do run for between 12 and 18 months.

If the Valuation Office fail to conclude a Challenge within 18 months of submission, the appellant can move straight to Appeal without waiting for a Challenge Decision Notice to be issued by the Valuation Office

Appeal
Typically a 9 month wait for a hearing date and then a further 28 days for the decision to be published following the Valuation Tribunal Hearing

If the ratepayer is not satisfied with the outcome of the Challenge case then they are able to Appeal the case to the independent Valuation Tribunal Service for a hearing to determine the outcome. This Appeal must be filed within four months of the Challenge decision notice being issued by the Valuation Office.

To appeal there is a fee of £150 (for smaller proposers) or £300 (for any other proposer). If you’re appealing where the VOA have not sent their challenge decision notice within 18 months of making your challenge, the appeal is free.

If the appeal is successful, the appeal fee will be refunded. If the appeal is unsuccessful, but was decided without a hearing, you will be refunded £50 (for smaller proposers) or £100 (for any other proposer).

If you are concerned about your rates liabilities and are seeking professional advice please get in touch with the highly qualified, RICS registered, surveying team at ForeView. At ForeView we are always happy to have an initial conversation with you to discuss your individual queries. Whether it be a call or a meeting over a coffee, our team are ready to engage with your specific circumstances and work with you to ensure your overall Business Rates liability is minimised. 

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