Valuation Appeal Committee (VAC)
Hearings for Non-Domestic Subjects
Notice of hearing
For Revaluation 2017 appeals, at least 105 days before the VAC is to consider your appeal, (or 35 days for Council Tax cases), the secretary will send you a notice giving details of the date, time and place of the hearing. The details will also be published on Ayrshire Valuation Joint Board’s website.
If you are unable to attend on the appointed date you should contact the secretary as soon as you receive the notice. The VAC will only agree to change the date if it considers that you have a good reason. The VAC can postpone or adjourn a hearing at any time but it will give you as much notice as possible.
VAC's sometimes wait to deal with related cases together, which is to everyone's benefit. If you think there is any unreasonable delay in setting a date for your hearing, you may request an alternative date for your hearing. If the VAC refuse to hear your appeal at the time you suggest you will be told the reason.
Below is some guidance on hearings for Non-Domestic properties. There are slightly different rules for Council Tax appeals which are contained in The Council Tax (Alterations of Lists and Appeals)(Scotland) Regulations 1993 (SI 1993/355). If you receive a citation, enclosed will be guidance on the appeal procedure.
Exchange of information
Before your appeal is heard, you must comply with requests from the Assessor for an exchange of information.
You may also be asked to give written confirmation that you intend to carry on with your appeal. You must reply within the time limit, which will be given to you, or your appeal may be dismissed.
Grounds of appeal
If you do not include the information when you write to lodge your appeal, you must send the Assessor a written statement of your grounds of appeal at least 35 days before the hearing.
You must state clearly why you think the valuation is wrong. You must also give the alternative valuation which you think should be substituted.
At least 21 days before the hearing the Assessor must send you a statement of the grounds on which the valuation of your property has been arrived at.
Comparisons with other properties
If you have decided to appeal because you think the value of your property is too high compared with the values of other properties, you must also send the Assessor a list of such comparable properties at least 21 days before the hearing.
You should include all the properties you wish to tell the VAC about. Any other property mentioned at the hearing will only be considered if the Assessor agrees or if the VAC allows it to be considered.
At the same time, you can ask the Assessor to send you a list of any properties which will be used to support the valuation in the roll. The list must be sent to you at least 14 days before the hearing.
If the Assessor sends you a list of properties first, you must send your list to the Assessor at least 14 days before the hearing.
You can also ask the Assessor at any time up to 56 days before the hearing to send you a list of any plant and machinery included in the valuation of your property.
You do not have to wait until you receive notice of the date of the hearing to send your statement of grounds of appeal and any list of comparable properties to the Assessor. You can send them earlier, but you must make sure that the Assessor has the information within the time limit.
Representation at the hearing
You may give your evidence to the VAC yourself or you may be represented by any person, whether or not legally qualified. However, you cannot be represented by someone who is a member of the panel from which the VAC is drawn.
If you want to be represented by someone else you should notify the secretary of the VAC and give your representative's name. The VAC can refuse to allow any particular person to represent you if it has a good reason for doing so. Ensure that any representative you appoint is completely familiar with the details of your case.
The Assessor may appear in person to give evidence or evidence may be given by a member of the Assessor's staff. In some cases the Assessor may have legal representation.
Record of evidence
If you think it is important, you can arrange for evidence given at the hearing to be recorded. You must tell the VAC before the hearing and you must pay the cost of the recording.
The secretary may be able to tell you if the Assessor will be recording the hearing. If so, if you request it, the Assessor will be able to provide facilities for you to be able to hear the recording.
If you or the Assessor ask for your appeal to be referred to the Lands Valuation Appeal Court, the VAC may ask you to provide a certified transcript of any recording you make. The VAC will pay for any transcript it requires.
Failure to appear
If you or your representative fail to appear at the hearing your appeal may be dismissed and the VAC will notify you.
If you have a good reason for not appearing, you may write to the VAC within 14 days of receiving the dismissal notice - or a longer period if the VAC accepts there are special circumstances - and ask for your case to be heard at a later date.
If the VAC agrees, you will receive at least 7 days notice of the date, time and place of the new hearing.
At the hearing
Members of the public are normally allowed to attend appeal hearings. If you, or someone else concerned with your appeal, has a good reason the VAC may decide to hold the hearing in private.
The chairperson of the VAC is responsible for the way in which the hearing is carried out and will ask you to present your case. The VAC will decide if you or the Assessor will be heard first.
If you chose to give oral evidence, you may be asked to take an oath or "affirm" that what you say in your evidence will be the truth.
You should limit your evidence to giving the facts you would like the VAC to consider. The Assessor, or the Assessor's representative, or any member of the VAC, may ask you questions on your evidence.
If you decide to call witnesses to give evidence to support your case, you should ask them questions which will bring out the facts you would like the VAC to consider. Your witnesses may also be questioned by the Assessor, the Assessor's representative or any member of the VAC.
You will be given an opportunity to question the evidence put by the Assessor and anyone else involved in your case. You may also question any witnesses called to give evidence to support the Assessor's case.
If you would prefer not to give oral evidence you may provide written statements. If you do, you will have to supply a copy in advance of the hearing to the Assessor.
The Assessor can object to the written statement, in which case the VAC will decide if it can be accepted. Even if you put your case in a written statement, you will still be able to question the case put forward by the Assessor.
Disposal by written representations
You may decide that you do not want to attend the hearing at which the VAC will consider your case. You may feel, for example, that you can state your case clearly in a letter.
If you prefer to have your case dealt with by written representations you should tell the secretary to the VAC who will consult the Assessor. If the Assessor agrees, you will have four weeks in which to send your case to the secretary. If your appeal relates to matters of value you must state the valuation which you consider should be entered in the roll and the grounds on which it has been arrived at.
If the Assessor disagrees with the grounds of your appeal, you will be told the reason and you will have four weeks to comment on it. The Assessor will then have another four weeks to reply and at the end of that period, the secretary will report to the VAC.
The VAC may decide to a) ask for further information, b) order that your appeal should be dealt with at a hearing or c) agree to consider your case by written representations.
If you wish, you can withdraw your case after reading the Assessor's comments or at any time before the VAC reaches a decision.
The VAC may tell you its decision at the end of the hearing or at an adjourned hearing or you may be told later in writing. Where a decision is given orally, you will receive written confirmation of the decision within three days. In all cases you will also receive, in writing, the reasons for the decision.
Appeals against the VAC's decision
If you are not satisfied with the VAC's decision you may appeal to the Lands Valuation Appeal Court. The Assessor also has a right of appeal to the Court.
If you decide to appeal, you should write within 14 days to the secretary asking the VAC to prepare a "stated case" for presentation to the Court. The VAC will draw up the "stated case" based on the facts established at your hearing.
When you write to the secretary, you must state your grounds of appeal and send a copy to the Assessor. You will be sent a copy of any answers the Assessor may make to your grounds of appeal.
To assist with the preparation of your appeal, you can ask the secretary for a transcript of any recording of the evidence which may have been made at your hearing. There will be no charge for a transcript.
The secretary will send a draft of the "stated case" which the VAC proposes to make to you and to the Assessor.
You can write to the secretary to ask for amendments to be made to the "stated case" before it is put before the Court.
The Assessor can comment on your request, in the same way, you can comment on any amendments to the "stated case" which the Assessor may ask for.
If the VAC agrees, the "stated case" will be amended. Your case should then be lodged in the Court of Session and will be listed for hearing by the Lands Valuation Appeal Court.
You may wish to seek legal advice before deciding to ask for your case to be referred to the Lands Valuation Appeal Court. You may be entitled to full legal aid, including representation at the court hearing.
Finding out more
These appeal procedures are set out in detail in The Valuation Appeal Committee (Procedure in Appeals under the Valuation Acts) (Scotland) Regulations 1995 (S.I. No. 572/1995) and amended by the Valuation Appeal Committee (Procedure in Appeals under the Valuation Acts) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2017. Copies may be obtained at main public libraries and can be purchased at The Stationery Office bookshops.
Procedure in appeals to the Lands Valuation Appeal Court is governed by Regulations (Acts of Sederunt) made by the Court of Session.
More information is available on the Scottish Executive's web site on www.gov.scot/ under Publications.
Click here for details of future VAC hearings.