With the Valuations Office Agency (VOA) due to publish the new rateable values in September (2009), experts in Carter Jonas' Rural Division are reminding equestrian businesses such as riding schools, livery yards and racing and training stables to think local when it comes to considering the new business rates regime.
The new rates come into effect in April next year (2010), with figures based on rateable values assessed on the valuation date of 01 April 2008 and will have a lifespan of five years.
The valuation date for the new set of figures occurred in very different market conditions to those of this year and, in all likelihood, at the point of their introduction next year the market will still be tough.
Carter Jonas is also alerting businesses to the mini-industry of ‘ratings cowboys’ which springs up every five years - when the new rateable values cycle begins - and who try and encourage appeals against the new revaluation regardless of whether or not an appeal is valid.
Jeremy Zeid, a Partner in Carter Jonas' Cambridge office, advises that while businesses may be attracted to appeal on the no-win no-fee basis offered by the five-yearly opportunists, the mass-mailing method of getting business and the lack of in-depth, local market knowledge of these intermittent agents is less impressive, especially, as with the current Rating List, there is only ever one chance to lodge an appeal with the VOA.
He says: "Successful appeals against unfair valuations are due to both professional expertise and local knowledge when it comes to making the kind of evidence-based case on which the VOA makes its appeal judgment."
Jeremy, himself, has been successful in securing considerable savings at appeal, particularly in respect of equestrian properties such as riding schools, livery yards and racing and training stables.
"While not actively encouraging appeals, the VOA is receptive to well presented, professional cases rooted in a deep knowledge of the local market and comparative properties.
"Bona-fide agents with their own reputations to protect both with local businesses and with the VOA would never advise a client to appeal unless there was solid evidence that a valuation was unfair," he concludes.
For more information about the forthcoming Business Rates 2010 Revaluation, visit the VOA website.
For more information about the appeals process or appealing against current business rates on rural interests, contact Jeremy Zeid.