Representation at a valuation tribunal makes all the difference.
If you’ve contended your business rates before or had an agent contend them on your behalf, you should be aware of the possibility that your case can escalate to a valuation tribunal.
It doesn’t happen often if you have an agent, as appeals are constructed professionally and evidence is selected correctly. This is why the vast majority of our appeals are accepted promptly at a council or valuation office level. Those going through the process unrepresented may be warded off if their appeal gets rejected by the valuation office, believing nothing can be done and rightly being wary of the associated costs of a legal battle.
But the reality is; that the valuation office isn’t always right. And while appeals can be disagreed on, its the job of the independent valuation tribunal service to reach an unbiased decision based on well-presented facts. Their decision could save a business substantial amounts of money, so if you’re confident in your claim then it’s certainly worth looking into.
Recently, a case has stood out as being a prime example of highlighting the importance of professionally presented evidence when taking a dispute to the valuation tribunal. The appeal looked at the reclassification of premises from an office to a workshop.
The successful appeal resulted in a reduction on the rateable value from £19,750 to £10,250; taking the rateable value underneath the threshold for Small Business Rates Relief and leaving the liable person/s free of paying business rates and due to receive a hefty back-dated payment.
Here’s what the Panel on the valuation tribunal said in regards to the appeal:
"The Valuation Officer’s approach in attaching more weight to the evidence of comparable assessments at Stamford Works and Indigo Mews was rejected. The panel decided that more weight should be attached to the evidence of comparable assessments within the subject development which were valued at a lower rate."
The valuation officer used a broader spectrum of localised data to reject the appeal. However, a more acute analysis of properties in the immediate area led to a successful appeal for the rating agent. It’s a perfect example of how the knowledge and experience to present data professionally can highlight incorrect valuation office decisions, resulting in massive savings for the client.
It’s highly unlikely that without representation, the same client would have achieved the same savings. Chances are that without an agent, the valuation officer's decision would have remained, and the client would still be continuing to overpay on their business rates to this day!
If we’re confident of a saving, we’re prepared to take all of our appeals through to a tribunal level. We’ll do it all at no extra cost to the client, and our no-win-no-fee promise still stands.