110,000 firms may miss rates appeal deadline

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COMPANIES will be overpaying £221m in business rates, with more than 110,000 firms likely to miss this month’s deadline to appeal, new research shows.

As companies scramble to claw back overpaid business rates for the 2010-2015 period, research by the commercial property and real estate services adviser CBRE, estimates 114,500 appeals will miss the March 31 deadline.

More than 670,000 appeals have been lodged with the Valuations Office Agency since the latest tranche of business rates was announced in 2010.

More than a quarter have been successful, leading to a change in the amount of tax payable, with an average reduction of 11 per cent in bills to local authorities.

Successful appeals typically need to provide evidence that the Valuation Office’s estimated rental value for the property, calculated in April 2008, is wrong. Other factors stem from a change in circumstances at the property or if a new shopping centre nearby causes a reduction in footfall for existing retailers.

CBRE thinks the 670,000 appeals against the rating list will rise to more than 820,000 in the coming days, but thinks 114,500 will not be filed in time.

Robin Ellis, director of rating at CBRE in Leeds, said: “We always expect to see a spike in appeals in the run-up to the deadline but there are still thousands of companies who will miss out on what could be a significant reduction in their business rate bill.

“With so many SMEs still finding their feet following the financial crisis, a successful rate appeal could have a material impact on a company’s ability to survive, if not succeed, in today’s competitive marketplace.”