The Scottish Government has announced its intention to extend the statutory deadline for disposing outstanding 2017 revaluation appeals by 12 months to 31 December 2021. The decision was widely anticipated given the interruption caused by COVID-19 and the ongoing issues of progressing appeal discussions.
The submission of many additional appeals earlier this year under Material Change of Circumstances (MCC) will have further influenced the Government’s decision: statute dictates these appeals must be concluded by March next year.
“With Valuation Appeal Committee hearings being affected by COVID-19 and ongoing difficulties accessing properties and discussing values by all parties involved, it is a sensible decision to extend the disposal date by 12 months,” said Steven Dalton, Partner in Montagu Evans’ Scottish rating team.
“Importantly, the move allows the Assessors to fully consider the 50,000+ appeals lodged by ratepayers earlier this year to reflect the impact to their businesses and rating assessments of COVID-19.
“It could be interpreted by some that the Scottish Government is keen for all MCC appeals to be resolved within the statutory timeframe at the expense of the remaining 2017 appeals – and it will be frustrating for those who have been waiting over three years for a decision. But realistically, to expect staff to deal with the remaining 2017 appeals by December 2020, consider all MCC appeals by March 2021 and prepare for the next revaluation in 2022, is a tall order for any organisation.
“Extending the 2017 appeal disposal deadline will certainly assist, but it is debatable whether this is enough and prevent the 2022 revaluation from going ahead as planned. Not only would a delay exacerbate the difference between rating assessments set at the 2017 revaluation (based on 1 April 2015 valuation date) from current market conditions, but it would also prevent more regular revaluations taking place, one of the key recommendations of the Barclay Report.”