This type of appeal arises if you made a valid proposal to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) about your property’s assessment for business rates or some other part of the entry in the 2010 (or earlier) rating list.

Unless the dispute is settled within three months, the valuation officer must transfer it to the Valuation Tribunal as an appeal. The Tribunal is completely independent of the VOA and councils, which collect rates.

The VOA puts appeals into a programme, which sets out the timetable for when negotiations about the appeal should start and end. The Tribunal lists appeals for hearing after the negotiation period has ended.

 

The flow chart shows you the stages in making a rating list appeal and getting a Tribunal decision. Click on any of the blue boxes to find out more.

Appeals against the rating list image map

You must first contact the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) that assesses property for business rates. You have to make what is called a proposal to the VOA to formally challenge the entry in the rating list.  You can find more information on the Government’s website by clicking here.

If you and the VOA do not come to an agreement within 3 months, your challenge will be sent to the Valuation Tribunal as an appeal.

If you and the VOA do not come to an agreement within 3 months, your challenge will be sent to the Valuation Tribunal as an appeal.  You do not have to do anything at this stage.

Before making your appeal there would have been 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 try to provide evidence to support these reasons, rather than just opinion.

To provide evidence to support your opinion that the rateable value or list entry is wrong, you may find it useful to look at:

  • the Valuation Office Agency website, which shows the rating list and the rateable values of other properties; and
    • old local newspapers that can be found in libraries and show properties that were offered for rent.

Please note that the more comparable a property is to yours, in age, size, accommodation and location, then the better evidence it may provide.

Our guidance booklets also contain some information including a list of the relevant legislation that we have to follow. On our website we have Tribunal decisions on other rating appeals.

With the notice of your hearing you will receive a standard direction, which sets out the process for exchanging evidence with the VOA. It is important that you read this and the Explanatory Commentary for details. These documents and other important information is set out in the Practice Statement.

 

The VOA puts appeals into a programme, which is a timetable for when negotiations between you should start and end. As you continue talking to the VOA you may reach a settlement with them. If you do reach an agreement, please let us know.

The Valuation Tribunal’s ‘disclosure and exchange’ process takes place. This is set out in the direction you receive with your hearing notice. You must follow this direction and you should read the Practice Statement.

You could attend another hearing before yours to see what happens. Please contact us if you wish to do this.

Nearer the day, if we can, we will give you an idea of the time when your appeal might be heard.

You may decide not to carry on with your appeal at any time. If you do decide to withdraw your appeal, please let the VOA 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 the appellant is not present at a hearing, but has submitted a written case to the Tribunal to be considered at a hearing where the other party will be present. The written evidence should be sent to the Tribunal and to all other parties 14 days in advance of the hearing date.

• The decision without hearing procedure. In these cases, the parties have agreed that neither of them will be present at a hearing, and the Valuation Tribunal has agreed that this procedure can be used. The Tribunal will direct the parties to submit a written statement of case to the Tribunal and all other parties by a specified date. For more information, please read the Practice Statement, Decisions without a Hearing.

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 the Model Procedure set out in the Practice Statement.

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 and a guidance booklet

We set the date for your hearing and send you a Notice of Hearing

We will contact you by phone/email or we may send you a Hearing Reminder Notice

We send you a Notice of Decision and a guidance booklet

 

Relevant legislation

Local Government Finance Act 1988, gives the general law.

Rating (Valuation) Act 1999, explains what a rateable value is.

Valuation Tribunal for England (Council Tax and Rating Appeals) (Procedure) Regulations 2009  SI 2009 No 2269

Non-Domestic Rating (Alteration of Lists and Appeals) (England) Regulations 2009  SI 2009 No 2268

These set out the rules under which we and the VOA’s valuation officer have to deal with any rating appeals.

Please remember that some parts of this legislation have changed and there may be further changes.  You will need to check that the legislation you use is up to date.  Larger public and law libraries hold copies of legislation.  You can also see legislation on the website www.legislation.gov.uk.

To appeal against your non-domestic rates (rateable value), you must first complete and send a form called a proposal to the Valuation Office Agency.

By law, the VOA must send us any proposals that have not been settled and then they automatically become appeals that we will deal with. The VOA must do this within three months, even if no discussions have taken place with 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.

The Valuation Tribunal cannot receive an appeal from you direct against the 2010 rating list under the regulations. An appeal can only be made when you have made a proposal to the VOA. The VOA should have explained the various circumstances in which you can make a proposal. You can see the VOA’s guidance on the Government’s website.

You can find more information by looking at

You can get professional advice from members of:

We aim to list programmed rating appeals within six months of the target date (the date set by the VOA for the end of negotiations).

Normally we will give you at least eight weeks’ notice of the hearing date, even though the regulations allow a minimum of 14 days notice or less in exceptional or urgent circumstances.

 

Before making your appeal there would have been 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 try to provide evidence to support these reasons, rather than just opinion.

The rateable value of a property in the 2010 rating list is based on the likely yearly rental value of the property as it would have been on 1 April 2008.  This date is known as the ‘antecedent valuation date’.  For the 2005 rating list, the antecedent valuation date was 1 April 2003. When the VOA set the rateable value, they look at the rent (if any) that was paid on your property at the antecedent valuation date and compare it with the rents for similar properties.

When challenging your rateable value it is helpful if you can provide rental information from around the antecedent valuation date on your property and any others nearby which are like yours. This rental information is then looked at to see, for example

  • how close to the antecedent valuation date the rent was agreed
  • whether it was an open market rent (in other words there was no link between the tenant and landlord)
  • there were no incentives or conditions attached
  • whether the tenant is liable for repairs and insurance

The VOA collect rental information in ‘forms of return’ and if they want to use this information they must send you a Regulation 17(3) notice. You may want to check that the information they send you is accurate and you can do this by arranging to visit the Valuation Office and view the forms. You can also ask the VOA if they have rent returns for other properties that you think are like yours.

If you can provide examples of the rateable values of similar properties near to yours that may also be evidence of the correct rateable value for your property.

The VOA may use other methods to value some types of property, for example, those that are not usually rented.

You can see details of similar properties including their rateable values, get information about how properties are valued and find other information for  businesses and the self-employed on the government website www.gov.uk which gives information about how properties are valued and shows the rating list with the rateable values of other properties.

On our website we have Tribunal decisions on other rating appeals.

With the notice of your hearing you will receive a standard direction, which sets out the process for exchanging evidence with the VOA. It is important that you read this and the Explanatory Commentary for details. You should also look at the Practice Statement setting out how the Tribunal works.

Please remember, however, that the Tribunal must remain impartial so any advice we give can only be general in nature and we cannot assist you in actually obtaining evidence in support of your case. We are not able to give advice as to whether or not your appeal will be successful or specific details as what evidence will or will not be persuasive in your case.

A full submission of your case should include the following:

  • a statement of the issues that you and the council or Valuation Office Agency do not agree about
  • an explanation of the decision you are asking for from the Tribunal
  • the arguments that support your case, including legal arguments (with references)
  • the evidence you believe supports your case
  • copies of any documents that are necessary to support your case
  • your signature and confirmation of the date you sent it to the other parties

The submission should be set out clearly, in order, with relevant headings and pages and paragraphs numbered.

Please note that if you are presenting your own case you will not be expected to provide a submission like that expected of a professional representative. However, the Tribunal expects you to provide material to the best of your ability so that the other parties and the Tribunal are able to deal properly and fairly with the case.

For further information on this matter, please follow this link to our Practice Statement.