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Empty Rates Consultancy
Our business rates appeals management service aims to mitigate our clients’ business rate liabilities in a careful and professional fashion, reducing business rates payable to the absolute minimum.
Each new rating list often provides grounds to appeal against the rateable value assigned to your commercial property, but it's not simply a case of submitting an appeal and hoping for a reduction in liability.
Our approach to business rates appeals management
Effective appeals management relies on being able to identify which properties to appeal, which to negotiate and which to prosecute before the relevant tribunal.
We will review your complete portfolio in a careful and professional manner and recommend appeals that we believe to have the highest success rate, with the aim of securing a fully backdated refund and the maximum reduction in rate liability going forward. Unlike some representatives, we will not expose you to unexpected increases in liability.
We use bespoke software and electronic exchanges with the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) and the Valuation Tribunal to manage your appeals.
Challenging business rates assessments and securing available reliefs
At each stage of the process, we’ll address a number of questions. We’ll also provide regular updates on progress as the appeals process can be long and bureaucratic.
- Is there an opportunity to influence the Valuation Office Agency to reduce the impact of forthcoming rating revaluations?
- Would it be beneficial to work with the Rating Contact scheme?
- Is there scope to make an informal challenge to the draft Compiled List rateable values?
Initial assessment review:
- Has the property been assessed on the most appropriate valuation basis?
- How does the assessment compare with rental evidence?
- What is the change in value between two Rating Lists?
- Have physical alterations affected the rateable value of the property?
- Are there physical alterations in the locality that affect the property’s value?
- Will an appeal against the business rates assessment lead to a reduced liability?
- If an appeal is merited, when should it be submitted?
Empty Rates Consultancy
Our mitigation service can help landlords and tenants reduce the impact of empty rates on their bottom line.
Empty property rates – the background
Since 1 April 2008, ratepayers across England and Wales have been liable for full business rates once their property has been empty and unused for three months (six months for industrial premises).
Various relief schemes, such as the empty retail relief scheme and the new build empty property relief scheme, have been in place to reduce the burden since 2013. However, in his 2015 Autumn Statement, the Chancellor failed to extend them beyond their current deadlines.
Recent case law has also overturned a historic rating hypothesis which allowed ratepayers exemptions or reductions in their empty rates liability when carrying out building improvement or refurbishment works, placing an increasing, and unbudgeted, financial burden on landlords.
Tried and tested mitigation strategies to reduce your business rates bill
We’ve been at the forefront of campaigns to resist empty rates since its imposition and our specialist team follows the case law closely to ensure that any potential savings opportunities are maximised through our tried and tested mitigation service.
We are also well connected to charities and short-term tenants who will take occupation of buildings and absorb the empty rates liability.
Combining our unique our detailed knowledge and understanding of the latest business rates legislation with our new forensic audit tool RatePal, we are able to identify, challenge and recover thousands of pounds in overpaid business rates.
The business rates billing process is extremely complex, with multiple factors affecting your final demand statement.
Unfortunately, mistakes often go unnoticed and can lead to significant historical overpayments.
RatePal is our dedicated business rates audit solution, which maps your individual property details against market leading audit software, external data sources and in-house systems.
Applying specific algorithms and utilising our detailed knowledge of the latest business rates legislation we are able to:
- Conduct a forensic audit of historical business rates payments (including properties you no longer occupy) to identify inaccuracies and potential opportunities for savings
- Challenge and process the correction of errors across multiple rating lists and Billing Authority records
- Negotiate refunds and recover overpayments, including interest where appropriate, in a timely and cost effective manner
Using this process reduces the need for you to supply large volumes of data as we don’t audit what you paid but how changes to liability are applied and are calculated.
For more information, download our Rates Management and Audit information sheet.
We can calculate your business rates tax liability and manage the processing and payment of your business rates bills, leaving you free to manage your business.
Administering business rates, identifying and implementing rate savings opportunities... it takes time and money.
Our Rates Management service calculates your business rates liability and manages the processing and payment of your business rates demands, leaving you free to manage your business.
Our systems draw upon validated historic information together with current live alterations and generate virtual demands. These are then used to verify every demand element on a revised assessment with very little manual intervention required. This is an important approach as a significant proportion are incorrectly calculated when true facts are known.
Client portfolio management
We use our in-house rates management system to actively manage your business rates portfolio. The information it generates allows us to audit and validate future valuation demands quickly and effectively.If your assessment changes, it can save you money but increase your administrative burden. We arrange to receive all demand correspondence from each billing authority direct. We’ll liaise with billing authorities and other external bodies on your behalf and update and monitor every change in your system portfolio.
All businesses operate and are managed differently. We tailor our service to meet your needs, from budget forecasting for your future liability to allocating by business, department or individual.
Full demand validation
Our in-house system combines validated historic information with current live alterations to generate a virtual demand. We use this to verify every demand element on a revised assessment and will resolve all queries with the billing authorities on your behalf.
Payment and refund management
We revise installment plans and issue you with revised payment schedules to help you manage your cash flow.
You validate all refunds from appeals or site specific opportunities before receipt. Where appropriate, we claim refund interest and ensure it is paid.
Tailored reporting and management information
We provide a historic data validation summary report so you can be sure that historic savings have been identified and refunded and your current liability is true and correct.
We can tailor our reporting to the format and frequency that suits you best.
For more information, download our Rates Management & Audit information sheet.
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