A Dundee-based national surveying business is urging ratepayers in Scotland to ensure they take steps to lodge an appeal against their new business rates ahead of the September 30 deadline or face the prospect of paying more than they should for the next five years at least.
April 1 saw the introduction of new rateable values on all non-domestic properties in Scotland following the 2017 revaluation.
The impact of the revaluation did not come as a complete surprise to many, particularly as politicians and business organisations had created a media storm highlighting some of the worst hit sectors of the market – both geographically and by business sector – and the impact that increased rates bills would have on businesses.
Andy Boal, head of rating at Shepherd chartered surveyors, said: “The hospitality sector has probably been hit the hardest by the 2017 revaluation.
“Countless pubs, hotels, restaurants, cafes, hostels and serviced apartments, amongst others, have suffered huge increases in their rateable values – an incongruous situation given that the hospitality sector has hardly been flourishing in recent years.
“We are instructed on many appeals where hospitality sector ratepayers have been faced with their Rateable Value increasing massively, with the biggest increase I have seen being faced by a restaurant in Edinburgh where the rateable value has increased by an incredible 543%.”
Boal says that whilst the 14.75% real terms cap on business rates rises on hospitality sector properties introduced by the Scottish Government for year 2017/18 – a relief that also extends to offices in Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire – was welcome, it is only a short-term measure and the spectre of huge increases in rates bills has not gone away.
Proprietors, tenants and occupiers of all non-domestic properties in Scotland have the right to lodge appeals against their rateable values.
Anyone who has not yet appealed still has time to safeguard their position. The last date for appeals to be lodged following the revaluation is September 30 2017.
“My advice is simple: speak to a rating specialist immediately, and if they advise that an appeal is recommended, follow that advice and agree terms with them for acting on your behalf,” added Boal.
“Take care when doing so to make sure that you consult with a specialist from a respected firm of Chartered Surveyors affiliated to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
“It is, of course, not only in the hospitality sector that ratepayers should be thinking about lodging appeals. The Rateable Value of a property is the only part of the rates bill calculation that can be challenged, and whatever has happened to the Rateable Value of a property – whether it has increased, stayed the same or even decreased – appeals should always be seriously considered.
“The bottom line is this – if you don’t appeal, you are accepting that you or your business may be paying more business rates than it might have to. It is not too late to act. Appeals must be lodged by 30th September 2017, but don’t delay.”