You must first contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) that assesses property for business rates. You have to go through the Check and Challenge stages before you can make an appeal. You can find more information on the Government’s website by clicking here.
This is known as the Challenge stage. The VOA should send you their decision notice, telling you whether they agree to your proposal. When you receive that you have 4 months from the date of that notice to make an appeal. Or, if you do not receive a decision notice from the VOA within 18 months of serving your proposal you can appeal to the tribunal.
You will have already exchanged your evidence with the VOA. It is important that you read the Standard Direction and the guidance as it sets out the limited circumstances in which you can submit new evidence. You will have received these with the notice of receipt we sent you, or you can read them in the Consolidated Practice Statement.
You could attend another hearing before yours to see what happens. Please contact us if you wish to do this.
You may decide not to carry on with your appeal at any time. If you do decide to withdraw your appeal, please let us know.
You may –
- request a postponement if you have a good reason for not being able to attend on the day; or
- appoint a representative to present your case for you.
It is always better if you can come to the hearing so that you can answer any questions that the panel might have and so you can ask the other party questions. However, there are other options –
- Appeal heard in absence procedure.This is when you are not present at a hearing, though the other party, the VOA, is. The Tribunal decides the appeal on the documents you have exchanged with the VOA and your appeal form. If you want this to happen you must contact the Tribunal and the VOA at least two weeks before the hearing.
- The decision without hearing procedure. This is also known as a decision “on the papers”. In these cases, the parties have agreed that neither of them will be present at a hearing, and the Tribunal has agreed that this procedure can be used. A request to use this procedure should be made at the time the appeal is made.
The hearing is as informal as possible and we will try to put everyone at ease, but these are judicial proceedings and a degree of formality is inevitable.
The panel will follow a procedure set out in the Practice Statement (Model Procedure).
The panel will decide who will put their case first, but if you would prefer to give your case first or second, please let us know.
During the hearing:
- the panel will ask you and the VOA’s representative to present your cases;
- you will be able to ask questions of the VOA’s representative;
- the VOA’s representative will be able to ask you questions; and
- the panel and the clerk can ask questions of you and the VOA’s representative.
Before the panel retires to make its decision, it will ask you if you would like to summarise your case (in other words, go over the main points of your case again).
The panel will make its decision based on the evidence and argument presented to it, bearing in mind what the law (legislation and case law) allows. The panel will retire at the end of the hearing to deliberate and will call the clerk in to provide legal advice and to help draft the reasons for the decision. However, the clerk takes no part in the making of the decision.
The Tribunal’s decision is not announced at the hearing. We send you a decision notice, usually within one month of the hearing.
When we receive your appeal we send you a Notice of Acknowledgement, the Standard Direction and a guidance booklet
We set the date for your hearing and send you a Notice of Hearing
We may send you a Hearing Reminder Notice or we will contact you by phone/email
We send you a Notice of Decision and a guidance booklet