Sunday, 19 May 2013
If you make a valid proposal to the Valuation Office Agency about your property’s assessment for business rates or the entry in the rating list, and if it is not settled within three months, the valuation officer must transfer it to the Valuation Tribunal as an appeal.
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An appeal is when you think a decision is wrong and you have a right in law to ask an independent tribunal to look at it.
By law, the Valuation Tribunal can look at appeals about
There are time limits for making some types of appeals.
Yes, you can come to any of our hearings. Full details of our hearings can be found on this website or you may contact your nearest tribunal office to ask about hearings that are coming up. Please note that if all of the appeals due to be heard at a particular hearing are settled prior to that day, then the hearing will be cancelled. You are therefore advised to contact us the day before the hearing, to check that it is still going to take place.
We also have some video clips on the website that show what a valuation tribunal hearing is like. To see the clips, please follow this link.
To appeal against your non-domestic rates (rateable value), you must first contact your local valuation office www.voa.gov.uk. The valuation officer (VO) there will send you a form called a proposal to fill in and will let you know of any time limits. By law, the VO must send us any proposals that have not been settled and then they automatically become appeals that we will deal with. The VO must do this within three months, even if no discussions have taken place with you.
No, you should continue to pay your council tax or rates bill. If the Valuation Tribunal decides your appeal in your favour, any overpayment you have made should be taken into account when your bill is re-calculated.
We are independent and have to be impartial so, although we can advise you about general procedure, we cannot advise you about whether you have a good case for making an appeal or whether or not your appeal would be successful. Each case is considered on its merits.
You may also find it helpful to visit the Listings and Decisions section of our website, where you could search for previous tribunal decisions on appeals like yours.
The ‘success rate’ for appeals heard at a hearing varies, but over all appeal types in 2012, about one in three people had their appeal allowed or part allowed.
No, the Valuation Tribunal provides a free service and we cannot award costs against you. However, you do have to meet your own costs in going to the tribunal hearing, including any loss of earnings, and the costs of anyone you chose to represent you.
You can make one general proposal to the VOA to reduce the rateable value of your business property in the lifetime of each valuation list. The current list commenced on 1 April 2010. You can also make a proposal at any time if you believe something physical has happened to your property or in the area,which has reduced the value of your property.
If you and the VOA do not resolve your proposal, the VOA will send it on to us as an appeal. You cannot appeal directly to us.
We will let you know when we have received your appeal and send you a guide that explains the appeal process and how we can help. After we have listed your appeal for a particular hearing date, we will send you a notice of hearing and this will tell you when and where your appeal will be heard. We aim to give you 4-6 weeks notice of the hearing, but it could be less than that. The usual minimum notice is 14 days, although in some exceptional circumstances, for example if everyone agrees, it may be a shorter period.
If you cannot come to the hearing on the date we give you, you can ask us for another hearing date, or, if you ask us early enough, we can deal with the case without you being there.
About two weeks before your hearing date we will contact you to check whether you will be attending the hearing. Or we may send you a hearing reminder notice. If you get one of these notices you should complete and return it to us if you intend to go to the hearing. When we know how many people will be attending the hearing, we can give you an estimated start time for your appeal. Where possible we will try to take into account any preferences which you may have, but please note that this start time cannot be guaranteed, as it will depend on how long the previous cases on the day have taken.
We aim to list programmed rating appeals within 12 weeks' of the target date (the date set by the Valuation Office Agency for the end of negotiations).
We aim to list appeals on validity issues, completion notices and transitional certificates within six months' of receiving them.
We aim to list appeals against penalty notices within three months' of receiving them.
For further information, please follow this link to the Practice Statement: Listing of non-domestic rating appeals.
Normally we give you at least six weeks' notice of the hearing date, even though the regualtions allow a minimum of 14 days' notice (or less, in urgent or exceptional circumstances).
Yes. You can write to us at any time before the hearing date if you decide not to pursue your appeal. This can be done electronically, by following this link.
Yes. You have one month to apply for your case to be opened again (reinstated), starting from the date you withdrew your appeal. You will need to provide reasons why your appeal should be reinstated. For further information, please follow this link to the Practice Statement: Applications for reinstatement following striking out and withdrawal and lifting of a bar.
If you agree your appeal within two weeks' of the hearing date, your appeal will be adjourned to allow you to complete and return the necessary paperwork. Please let us know as soon as possible if this is the case with your appeal.
Please note that if you do not complete and return the agreement paperwork and your appeal comes before another panel at a future date, your case may be struck out.
For further information please follow this link to the Practice Statement: Listed appeals where the parties have reached agreement.
If you want to come to the hearing, you need to prepare your case before the hearing date. Please try to provide as much evidence as possible to support your case.
You will be allowed to:
We expect you and the valuation officer or listing officer to have discussed beforehand any evidence that each of you will present at the hearing. It is best if both of you exchange your evidence before the day so that there are no surprises at the hearing, otherwise your case may need to be adjourned to a later date. For appeals against the 2010 rating list this exchange of evidence must take place for the hearing to proceed. Click here to see the Practice Statement Disclosure and Exchange
The other party’s evidence can appear fairly formal, but we do not expect people presenting their own case to give their evidence in the same way as them. However, you may find it helpful to prepare a written statement.
It will be useful if you can bring five copies of any documents that you want to present in evidence (a copy for each of the three members, the clerk and the other party). Anything else, which it is difficult to get copies of, such as photographs and large plans, can be shared on the day.
Before you made your appeal you would have had one or more reasons which convinced you that it was the right thing to do. it is those reasons that the panel will be interested in hearing about and you should provide evidence to support these reasons, rather than just opinion.
To provide evidence to support your opinion that your property is in the wrong band you may find it useful to look at the Valuation Office Agency website, www.voa.gov.uk, which shows the rating list and the rateable values of other properties and the VOA Rating Manual. Our guidance booklet gives more information of possible sources of help and you can also see other Tribunal decisions on our website.
Please remember, however, that the Tribunal must remain impartial so any advice we give can only be general in nature: we cannot assist you with preparing your case. We are not able to give advice as to whether or not your appeal will be successful or specific details of evidence that might be persuasive in your case.
This is a summary of these provisions, but for more detailed information, please follow this link to the Practice Statement: Disclosure and Exchange and the President's Explanatory Commentary regarding the Practice Statement.
All notices of hearing in respect of these appeals will contain a standard direction. If you are the appellant and you substantially fail to comply with this direction, your appeal will be struck out (that is, not considered any further). If the VOA or any other party substantially fails to comply with the direction, they will be barred from taking any further part in the proceedings.
The appellant must send their statement of case to the Tribunal and all other parties to the appeal at least six weeks before the date of the hearing. At this time they should also make any request for the appeal to be heard in their absence, otherwise they must attend, or be represented, at the hearing.
No later than four weeks before the hearing, the VOA or any other party, must serve a statement of case on the Tribunal and all other parties, including a response to the appellant's statement of case and provide the evidence they are relying on to support their case. If they do not comply with this direction, they will be automatically barred from taking further part in the proceedings.
A statement of case must include the following:
The statement should be set out clearly, in order, with headings, and pages and paragraphs numbered. Click here for a Statement of Case template.
Please note that an appellant who is presenting their own case will not be expected to present a statement to the extent expected of a professional representative. However, the Tribunal expects the unrepresented appellant to provide material to the best of their ability so that the other parties and the Tribunal are able to deal properly and fairly with the case.
For further information, please follow the link to the Practice Statement on Disclosure and Exchange, and the President's Explanatory Commentary.
Yes, but to avoid delays and unnecessary public expense, please only ask for a postponement if it is really needed. We will only give you a new hearing date if you have tried to settle your case with the Valuation Office Agency or billing authority (council) and have a good reason for not being able to make the date we have given you. Before you contact us to ask for another date we will expect you to have told the valuation officer, listing officer or billing authority (council) that you consider a postponement of your case is required.
A request for a postponement should be made to the clerk of the tribunal, in writing (letter, email or fax), at least three days before the hearing date you have been given. You should give full reasons why you need the case to be postponed, say whether or not you have agreed this with the valuation officer, listing officer or billing authority (council). Please also tell us how long you need before you will be able to attend a hearing of your case.
Your request will be acknowledged. The clerk will consider the reasons for your request and before deciding whether to give it, they will also look at matters such as:
Please be aware that if the clerk agrees to a postponement, it may be some time before we can give you a new hearing date. If the clerk turns down your postponement request, they will let you know and suggest that, where possible, you or a representative should attend the tribunal hearing to ask the panel for an adjournment. An adjournment is a judicial decision, made by the panel members that an appeal should be heard at a later date. Please be aware that there is no guarantee that the panel will grant you an adjournment, so it is important that you are prepared and able to present your case at the hearing.
For further information, please follow this link to the Practice Statement on Postponements and Adjournments.
Appeal heard in absence.
This is where you are not at the hearing, but you submit a written case to the Tribunal to be considered at a hearing. However, if you want us to deal with your appeal in this way you must send a copy of your submission to us and to the other party. For all appeals except those against the 2010 rating list you must request the case to be heard in your absence and send your written submission at least 14 days before the hearing or your appeal may be struck out. For appeals against the 2010 rating list you must send your request and written submission in six weeks before the hearing date or your appeal may be struck out. The other party will be present at the hearing. Your submission must cover certain matters. For further information, please follow this link to the Practice Statement Appellant's non-attendance and for 2010 rating list appeals the Disclosure and Exchange Practice Statement.
The decision without a hearing procedure.
To use this procedure you, the other party and the VT must all have agreed to it. You and the other party will be asked to send us a copy of your cases within three weeks. We will send each of you a copy of the evidence we receive from the other party and you will have the right to make a written response within a further three weeks. A copy of any such responses will also be exchanged. The submissions and responses will then be put before a panel of members for them to consider. However, it is still possible that the panel may decide that more information is needed, or that it requires all the parties to attend a hearing. for further information please follow this link to the Practice Statement Decision without a Hearing.
A written submission should include the following:
If you want your case to be heard without your being there and your statement of case is for this use, you must ensure that it includes all the necessary evidence and arguments for the Tribunal to be able to deal with your appeal.
Our hearings are held in various types of buildings, such as hearing rooms in our own offices, other tribunals’ hearing rooms, halls, hotels and civic buildings. We try to ensure that the venues have good public transport links, parking and facilities, including disabled access. If you have any extra needs (relating to communication or mobility for example) please contact us in good time before the hearing In exceptional circumstances we may be able to arrange for a hearing to be held in your own home, or somewhere else that allows you full access. Please contact us to find out more about this or follow this link to our Practice Statement on Hearings in Private and Extraordinary Venue. If you are coming to a hearing and need a map and/or directions to the venue you can find these on the website.
We try to only select venues that comply with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act, but if you have any extra needs, please tell us as soon as possible and we will do our best to help. This help could include, for example, assistance for your mobility, sight, hearing and communication (such as a signer). We will meet the costs of providing this help and also for providing a suitable place or any equipment that is necessary to hear your appeal.
If you are coming to a hearing to present your case and you have problems understanding English, we may be able to provide an interpreter. Please tell us as soon as possible if you need an interpreter and which language you speak. We will pay the costs of providing an interpreter at the hearing.
Our guidance leaflets are available in audio format. Click here to download them.
We will guide everyone through the hearing process and try to put them at ease. During the hearing we will ask you and the other party to give your cases. You will both be allowed to ask questions on any evidence that the other party has put forward and the panel members may ask questions if they are unclear about anything.
It is always helpful if you can come to the hearing so that you can answer any questions that we have. However, if you ask us to, we can also deal with your case without you being there.
Please note that if your appeal is against an invalidity notice, the panel will only consider whether or not your appeal has been validly made; it will not consider any of the reasons for your appeal. Should the panel decide that your appeal has been validly made, a new hearing date will be arranged, where the details and reasons for your appeal will be heard and considered.
We have some video clips on the website, which show what a valuation tribunal hearing is like. You can watch the clips online by clicking here.
We also have a booklet that gives more information about the hearing process. This is available on the online by clicking here and we will send you one when we tell you about the date we have arranged for your hearing.
Where there are two or more appeals about the same or related issues of fact or law, the Tribunal may direct that one or more of those appeals is to be treated as a lead appeal.
The lead appeal(s) will be identified for hearing; the proceedings for the other similar or related appeals will be suspended (stayed). Parties to all the appeals will be sent a direction saying either that their appeal has been specified as a lead appeal or that proceedings in their appeal have been stayed.
The decision on the lead appeal(s) will be binding on the stayed appeals. However, any party to a stayed appeal has one month from the date the direction was sent to them to apply for a direction that the decision should not apply to their appeal and should not be binding. This application must be made in writing.
A complex case will have one or more of the following features:
A case which appears complex will be referred by staff to a senior member of the Tribunal, but any party can apply for the case to be treated as complex at any stage in the proceedings. A panel can also decide that a case should be treated as complex.
We will tell you if your case has been determined as complex. The senior member will decide what process should be used to deal with the appeal.
For further information, please follow this link to the Practice Statement: Complex Cases.
cases involving novel, important, difficult or contentious points of law and principles of valuation may need to be dealt with by a panel chaired by the VTE President or a Vice-President. Parties should inform the Tribunal as soon as possible if they think their case may involve such issues. If something of this nature arises at the hearing, the case may have to be adjourned to a later date. There is further information in the Practice Statement on Points of Law and Principles of Valuation.
If you are unhappy with the decision the panel has reached, you can make an appeal to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber). However, please note that you cannot appeal against a penalty notice decision.
Normally, you must have appeared at, or been represented at the hearing. You must make an appeal within four weeks of the date of the Valuation Tribunal’s decision. You may wish to take legal advice first, as the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) will charge a fee for making an appeal and costs can be awarded against the losing side.
You can get copies of the appeal form from:
The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber)
45 Bedford Square
Phone: 020 7612 9710 www.justice.gov.uk
If you think that the Valuation Tribunal acted outside its powers in making the decision, or that it did not act correctly at the hearing, you can apply to the High Court for a judicial review. You may wish to take legal advice first, as fees will be charged for making an appeal and costs can be awarded against the losing side.
You can contact the High Court at:
The Administrative Court
Royal Courts of Justice
Phone: 020 7947 6000 www.justice.gov.uk
Yes. We will reply to any reasonable requests for help or advice. You are welcome to contact us by phone or e-mail. Details of how you can contact us are shown on our notices, or you can click here. As the Valuation Tribunal has to remain independent we can only advise you about general matters and we cannot tell you what evidence you have to present or whether you have a good case for appeal. You may get advice from:
You can find more information by looking at our guidance leaflets and our newsletter, which is called Valuation in Practice (VIP). Previous valuation tribunal decisions can be seen here.
Anyone can visit our offices to look at copies of all of the decisions we have made during the last six years. Please telephone the relevant office to make an appointment.
You will also find information and a copy of the 2005 and 2010 rating lists on the VOA website www.voa.gov.uk
The Government website may also help you: www.gov.uk.
We may not deal with what you want to know. Click here to see what we don’t do in connection with council tax and rating. Alternatively click on the Contact Us link to email your question to us.
Practice Statements (rules & procedures)
Click here to view Practice Statements that you should be aware of if you intend making an appeal to the Tribunal
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