people image

Non Domestic Rates : Appeal Procedure

Introduction

The following is a guide to what happens if you decide to appeal against the valuation which the Assessor has set for your property. It applies to appeals lodged on or after 1 April 2017. This is not a statement of the law. If you have any questions contact your local Assessor. You may also wish to consider taking professional advice from a solicitor or chartered surveyor.

Assessors are responsible for the valuation of property for rating purposes. In carrying out their function they are entirely independent of both local and central government and reach decisions in accordance with applicable statute and case law. Economic circumstances in each area will affect rateable values to the extent that they affect the rental evidence used by the Assessor in setting rateable values.

Although the valuation appeal system is governed by regulations, sometimes the procedures may vary locally. If you appeal, the Secretary to your local Valuation Appeal Committee (VAC) or Panel will be able to explain these.

How to appeal

It will assist in taking matters forward if you include in your correspondence what you think the valuation of your property should be. If you want to compare the valuation of your property with other properties you can inspect the valuation roll which lists all the properties in your area. The valuation roll can be seen at the Assessor's office or at main public libraries or council offices or you can use the search facility.

If the Assessor does not agree to reduce the valuation you have the right to appeal. You do not have to pay any fee for lodging an appeal.

You must continue to pay your rates bill until your appeal is decided or you may be liable to recovery action by the council. If you succeed in your appeal and your rates bill is reduced, you may receive interest on the amount you have overpaid.

Time Limits for Appeals

You may lose your right to appeal if you do not do so within the time limits. The last date for lodging a revaluation appeal is 30th September 2017.

If you are a new proprietor, tenant or occupier you may appeal against the valuation in force when you took over the property but you must do this within 6 months of acquiring the interest in the property.

If your property has been affected by a "material change of circumstances", as defined in the Valuation Notice, you may appeal at any time while the valuation roll is in force.

You and the Assessor

Even after you have lodged an appeal you can still discuss your case with the Assessor on an informal basis to try and reach agreement.

If you still cannot agree, your appeal will be heard in due course by the VAC for your area.

You can continue to try to reach an agreement with the Assessor at any time before the VAC meets to consider your appeal. If you can reach an agreement, the hearing becomes unnecessary.

The Valuation Appeal Committee (VAC)

The VAC will be chosen from a panel of local people appointed by the Sheriff Principal in your area.

The VAC will be made up of a chairperson and between 3 and 6 members. They are all unpaid and completely independent of the Assessor and your local council and have no prior knowledge of your case.

The VAC is assisted by a paid secretary, who is usually a solicitor. The secretary does not take any part in reaching a decision in your case but is there to advise the VAC on legal matters and may take part in the hearing.

( More details on the VAC ).

Lands Tribunal for Scotland

If you think that your appeal is complicated or highly technical or raises major questions of principle or law, you may wish to consult a chartered surveyor or solicitor before asking the VAC to refer your case to the Lands Tribunal for Scotland.

If you would like your appeal to be considered by the Tribunal you should apply as early as possible and not later than 14 days before your case is due to be heard by the VAC and not later than 6 months before the disposal date for the appeal.

The last date for the disposal of appeals from the 2017 Revaluation is 31st December 2020. The last date for the disposal of other appeals may be different. If you are in doubt, please contact the Assessor.

You must write to the VAC and explain why you think your appeal should be referred to the Tribunal and you must send a copy of your application to the Assessor. The Assessor will make comments on your application and you will receive a copy of them.

The Assessor may also ask the VAC to refer your appeal to the Tribunal. If you plan to ask for your appeal to be heard by the Tribunal you may wish to discuss this with the Assessor because, in some cases, it is possible to make a joint application.

If the VAC agrees, it will pass your appeal to the Tribunal and will tell you it has done so. In some cases, legal aid is available for appeals brought before the Tribunal.

If the VAC does not agree it will write to tell you. You can appeal against the decision direct to the Tribunal up to 21 days after receiving notice from the VAC.

If the Tribunal does not agree to accept the appeal, your case will be decided by the VAC.

Withdrawal of appeals

If you decide to withdraw your appeal you should write to the Assessor. Alternatively, the Assessor may offer to reduce the valuation. If you accept this offer you would withdraw your appeal. The Assessor will issue a revised valuation notice and you will have no further right of appeal unless there is a subsequent change in value or material change of circumstances.