In July 2022 the Welsh Government launched a technical consultation on draft regulations to deliver reforms to the business rate appeals system in Wales.
This followed an initial consultation which ended in January 2018 to which Andrew West, Director of Cooke & Arkwright, responded in his role as spokesperson for RICS Wales on property taxation.
In essence the changes will mirror the Check, Challenge, Appeal system which has been with us in England for some years. The system will adopt 3 phases as follows:
- Check – This is an exchange of factual information which, in most cases, will not address substantive appeals on valuation grounds. This phase can last for up to 12 months for the VOA to complete
- Challenge – Following completion of the check there is a deadline of 4 months to move to the substantive challenge phase. At this stage the appellant is required to submit a detailed statement of case giving detailed grounds for the proposal and justification for any contentions made which will principally involve a reasoned, precise valuation. This phase is vital as it will form the basis of future discussions and any appeals to the Valuation Tribunal for Wales. The VOA will decide whether the challenge, supported by evidence, justifies a reduction in the rating assessment or not. The VOA will decide if a challenge is well founded or not well founded if it disagrees with the proposal and considers the list entry to be accurate. Crucially, the draft regulations do not appear to require the VOA to provide any information to substantiate the basis of the valuation until the VOA is required to respond to the reasoned valuation included in the ratepayer’s challenge
- Appeals to the Valuation Tribunal for Wales – The final stage of the process is the opportunity for an aggrieved ratepayer to appeal to the independent Valuation Tribunal for Wales. Unlike England there will not be a fee for this phase.
The commentary and draft regulations do not include any detail on the initial registration process which has proved difficult and time consuming in England.
At its conclusion the consultation asks 10 questions on the drafting of the regulations. These are superficial, relating to the clarity of the regulations. The intention is to lay the draft regulations before the Senedd in order for them to come into force in time for the 2023 rating valuation effective from 1st April 2023. The best that can be achieved is minor changes to the draft regulations as phrased.
Andrew West of Cooke & Arkwright will respond as part of the RICS Wales formal response.