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