New business rates appeal system ‘is failing golf clubs’

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams December 8, 2017 14:30

The new ‘check, challenge, appeal’ (CCA) system that businesses can use to appeal their rates is confusing and ‘clearly not working’, according to a commercial real estate consultancy.

Business rates’ changes came into effect in April and hugely affected the golf industry, with 551 golf clubs in England and Wales seeing a tax rise. One Yorkshire club saw its rateable value increase by 98 per cent.

This golf club has been hit with a 98% increase in its business rates

According to Colliers International ‘businesses have been totally let down by the new business rates appeals system’ as just 0.3 per cent of the 1.85 million rateable properties in England have been contested following the April listing.

“This is despite the April changes being the largest changes to business rates in a generation,” said spokeswoman Karen Roberts.

“The government has not published any figures on the number of cases that have made it to the appeal stage yet, but we believe this figure is less than three cases.”

“It beggars belief that businesses are so happy with their rate bills in 2017 that hardly any one is contesting,” said John Webber, head of Business Rating at Colliers International. “We would argue the figures for 2017 are so low purely because ratepayers can’t navigate through the new system.

“The government introduced its new CCA appeals system on the same day as the new rating list despite the advice of rating experts who said it was unworkable at the time. Since then businesses have been really struggling to get registered; and even to claim that they are the ratepayer is a further hurdle. And that is before they get to the start of the check stage – a three-part appeal process, which many find unworkable and ‘not fit for purpose’. We know that 90 per cent of CCA responders are dissatisfied with the new system and few feel it is working.

“Dealing with CCA is like going to a hospital which is proud to proclaim that it has empty beds in its wards. In reality the hospital has locked and bolted its windows and doors, so the sick and weak can’t work out how to get in!

“Business rates now represent a property tax of 50p in the pound. If the government is going to maintain such high taxes, it must at least give businesses a system that gives them a chance to properly appeal them and is transparent.”

 

Emma Williams
By Emma Williams December 8, 2017 14:30
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