Think your business rates are too high? Here’s how to appeal them

15 May 2023, by Verity Editor

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In the UK, business rates are the third highest cost for retailers after staffing and rent, according to the Telegraph. Yet many business owners aren’t aware that they’re paying too much for their business rates, hiking up costs unnecessarily.

Or, those who have discovered they’re likely paying too much for their business rates don’t realise they can challenge and appeal the decision to get their money back!

If you believe that the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) has increased your business rates unfairly, you should 100% challenge the increase by following the appeal process with your local valuation office agency.

If you don’t challenge it, you may end up paying more than you need to, costing your business potentially thousands of pounds in an already expensive cost of living crisis.

So to help you appeal your business rates, we’ve put together this simple step-by-step guide to help you assess your rateable value, lower your business rates, and get your money back!

How to appeal business rates in 8 simple steps

If you want to lower your business rates bills and receive a backdated refund, then you must appeal your business rates fast! The last date to claim refunds on business rates bills is the 31st March 2023, so if you want to save thousands of pounds, the time is now!

Follow these 8 steps below to appeal your business rates, get your money back, and only pay what you should to going forward:

Step 1: Check the VOA website

The first step in appealing your business rates is to check the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) website.

The VOA is responsible for setting the rateable value of your commercial property and will let you check your business rates online, look at their rating list, and see whether your property’s rateable value is accurate and up-to-date.

Step 2: Review your business rates bill

Once you’ve checked the VOA website, review your business rates bill and ensure that the bill’s calculation and what it covers make sense.

Look for errors, like incorrect information about your commercial property or its usage. If you find mistakes, contact the VOA to have them corrected.

Step 3: Assess your property’s market value

To determine if your business rates are too high, it’s essential to assess the market value of your property.

You can also consult a rating specialist who can provide an expert opinion on your property’s market value.

Step 4: Gather evidence to support your challenge

Once you’ve assessed the market value of your property, gather evidence to support your appeal to the valuation office agency. This may include things like:

  • Photos of the property
  • Appraisals documents
  • Recent sales information of similar properties
  • Details about changes in the local economy
  • Details about changes in the property’s condition

Not sure what changes might lower your business rates? Check out our previous blog, “How to dramatically reduce your business rates in 8 easy steps.”

Step 5: Submit your challenge to the VOA

The next step is to submit your business rates appeal to the Valuation Office Agency website. You can do this by challenging the case, filling out their appeal forms, and providing documentation to support your case.

You must include as much information as possible to help the VOA understand why you think your business rates are too high.

If you don’t like the outcome from the valuation officer, it’s time to appeal directly on the valuation office agency website to ask the independent Valuation Tribunal for a review.

Step 6: Prepare for your hearing

If the VOA decides to proceed with your appeal, the valuation officer will send you the date for your hearing. Make sure you prepare for this hearing by gathering the necessary evidence and preparing a strong argument to support your case.

You might also want to consider hiring a rating specialist, business rates consultant, or solicitor familiar with business rates case law to help you prepare for the hearing and represent your case.

Step 7: Attend the hearing

On the day of the hearing, ensure you arrive on time and have practised presenting your case. When it’s time to take the stand, make sure you can explain why you believe your business rates are too high and provide evidence to support your argument.

The VOA will then consider your case and decide whether to reduce your business rates or not.

Step 8: Consider taking legal action

If you’re not happy with the outcome of your appeal from the valuation tribunal, it might be worth taking legal action. This can be a complex and expensive process, so definitely seek professional advice before filing a lawsuit!

Want to learn more about how you can cut costs? Read our blog, “How your business can save money during the cost of living crisis.”

Want to save money on business rates the easy way? Let the experts take over!

Appealing your business rates in the UK can be time-consuming and complicated, but by following the steps above, you can give yourself the best chance of a successful appeal!

Does appealing business rates sound like too much work? Let our experts carry out a free business rates bill assessment!

At Verity, our rates experts are helping commercial landlords all over the UK generate £18 million in savings every year on their business rates bills.

Though we rarely encounter a commercial property owner who didn’t save anything on their bill thanks to our service, if this is the case, you don’t pay a penny!

Our business rates experts will liaise with the VOA on your behalf to help you minimise your business rates with a no-win, no-fee guarantee, making saving money easy!

Simply send us your rates bill today, and we’ll check it for free!

Don’t forget: The deadline to receive a business rates rebate is the 31st of March 2023, so if you want to reduce your business rates – you better hurry!

Did a really good job on a site we acquired in Ipswich. Managed to get the zero rating backdated too.

Tim Bichara

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