Thousands of businesses risk losing right to reclaim overpaid business rates

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As the deadline for lodging appeals against the current rating list looms, hundreds of thousands of businesses are at risk of losing out on potential refunds in overpaid business rates, claims national commercial property consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH).

As at 30 September 2016, the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) – the government body responsible for valuation and property advice required to support taxation and benefits – had received just over 1m million challenges against the 2010 rating list; just over half of the 1.9m rateable properties across England and Wales.

From 31 March 2017, the VOA will no longer accept any challenges to assessments contained within the 2010 rating list which means that some of the ratepayers of the 900,000 or so assessments that have not been challenged will lose their right to appeal, potentially missing out on a refund of thousands of pounds in overpaid business rates liabilities.

Additionally, across England, a reduction in a ratepayers 2010 rateable value might lead to savings from 1 April 2017 as a result of transitional arrangements, making it doubly important.

LSH is urging ratepayers in this position to complete their online form or contact their local Business Rates expert to establish whether they have grounds for appeal before it’s too late.

Paul Easton, National Head of Business Rates at LSH, commented: “29% of the challenges received by the VOA up to 30 September 2016 resulted in a change to the 2010 rating list entry. If we extend that percentage to those assessments that have not yet been challenged, it could mean that a further 261,000 assessments are due a refund.  We are therefore urging them to seek advice on whether they have grounds for a potential appeal to ensure that they do not miss out.”

“Ratepayers have already been stung by the Government, following its decision to limit the backdating of savings on rating appeals to 1 April 1 2015 from 1 April 2010, we are therefore urging them to seek advice on whether they have grounds for a potential appeal to ensure that they do not miss out entirely.”