Carter Jonas is urging businesses to think local when it comes to considering the forthcoming business rates revaluation which will come into effect from 01 April 2010.
The firm's commercial experts acknowledge that, for some in business, April next year may seem too far away a date for which to plan in the current economic climate, but it does point out that the new rateable values will be published by the Valuations Office Agency (VOA) this September (2009).
The VOA is an executive agency of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and every five years has a statutory duty to carry out a revaluation of all rateable values in England and Wales to ensure they reflect changes in the property market.
The April 2010 figures will be based on rateable values assessed on the valuation date of 01 April 2008 and will have a lifespan of 5 years.
While 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.
What Carter Jonas does want to remind businesses about is that every five years, when the new rateable values are published or come into effect, a mini-industry of ‘ratings cowboys’ is spawned which encourages businesses to appeal against the new revaluation regardless of whether or not an appeal would be valid.
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.
Carter Jonas’s commercial experts have a track record of successful appeals against unfair valuations and while this is due in no small part to professional expertise, there is also no beating local knowledge when it comes to making the kind of evidence-based case on which the VOA makes its appeal judgment.
Duncan Wisbey has led many of Carter Jonas’s successful appeals to the VOA on behalf of clients.
He said: "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 reputations to protect with local businesses and the VOA would never advise a client to appeal unless there was solid evidence that a valuation was unfair."
For more information about the appeals process or appealing against current valuations for business rates, contact Duncan Wisbey at Carter Jonas in Cambridge, T: 01223 346624.
For more information about the Business Rates 2010 Revaluation, visit the VOA website.