A business owner stung by a 220% tax hike says a fresh delay to his appeal is a “horrible” burden for him and his workers to bear.
Firms who are challenging the rates increases will have to wait at least an extra month to be told the outcome – while having to cough up the higher sum.
Sebastian Nonis, whose petrol station in Dundee is the worst-hit business premises in Tayside, is appealing a rates increase from £15,000 to £48,000.
The owner of Forfar Road service station says that hike will force him to close his business, so has pledged to boycott it.
Mr Nonis said: “We now having to wait longer and it is horrible.
“I’m self-employed, it is my life, but it is also the lives of my 17 employees.
“If I do not pay, what are they going to do, put me in prison? Do they really want my business to close that much?
“At the end of the day, I know I can’t pay that and I’m not going to pay something I cannot afford. But I’m very confident I have a strong case and fingers crossed.”
The minimum length of the appeal process has been increased from 70 to 105 days.
Chartered surveyors have already warned that the number of cases could lead to hearings not starting until next year.
Murdo Fraser, for the Scottish Conservatives, said the new appeal timetable is “another indication of an anti-business SNP government”.
“Considering finances for many of these organisations affected will already be tight, they can hardly afford to wait an additional 35 days,” he said.
The levy is based on an estimate by independent assessors of how much a business premises would fetch on the open rental market, as well as a “poundage” multiplier set by the Scottish Government.
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay came under intense pressure earlier this year over the large increases that some businesses faced.
While an increasing number of small firms have been taken out of the rates system altogether, bigger companies have seen eye-watering hikes, which has been compounded by a slowdown in the economy.
As part of a £45m retreat, Mr Mackay capped the increases for the hospitality sector at 12.5%, or 14.75% with inflation.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Improvements to valuation appeal procedures were announced last October, following public consultation including wide business and practitioner input.”