The latest statistics from the Valuation Office Agency’s ‘Check, Challenge, Appeal’ business rates system show a 97% drop in the number of businesses in England challenging their rates bills in the last two years, compared to the two years following the previous revaluation.
Responding to the figures, Mike Cherry — national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) (www.fsb.org.uk
) — said: “These latest figures prove yet again that the Check, Challenge, Appeal (CCA) system needs to be urgently reformed.
“Rolled out at the same time as 2017’s revaluation, the current CCA system forces time-pressed small firms, already having to deal with unfair revaluations, to try and navigate the complicated platform.
“Many simply don’t have the time or money to bring together a case using the overly complicated system, and they risk financial penalties if they challenge their new valuation.
"With the number of challenges registered by businesses in England dropping by 97% since the system was launched, it’s clearly not working.
“Businesses are walking away from the system, meaning that thousands are potentially paying the wrong business rates bill.
“The system needs to make sure businesses understand what they are being charged for, so they can make a sensible judgement about whether to appeal or not.
“It must make sure smaller businesses know how their rates bills are calculated, without having to lodge a formal complaint.
“There must also be a reduced evidence burden placed on them at the initial stages, if they appeal their bills. Small businesses cannot afford a system in disarray.”