The number of outstanding business rates Challenges continues to rise in England as firms wait on an estimated £750 million in tax rebates with experts today calling on the Chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi, to immediately intervene to speed up settlement.
The Valuation Office Agency, an Executive Agency of HM Revenue & Customs, say that they resolved just 2,830 Challenges between 1st April and 30th June 2022 with that figure plummeting 28% from the 3,950 that they settled during the previous quarter but also admit 4,240 new cases were received as numbers continue to rise and the situation deteriorates.
Under a 3-stage process ‘Check, Challenge, Appeal’ (CCA), introduced back in 2017, the ‘Challenge’ stage is where businesses can make a formal challenge against their property valuation which is used to calculate rates bills which are then paid to Councils.
More than half of all Challenges are ultimately agreed leading to rebates going back many years often back to the 2017/18 financial year. Despite business rates being revalued next year and firms receiving new property assessments later this year, nearly 12,000 Challenge cases still await determination by the VOA with the real estate adviser Altus Group estimating that their resolution is likely to lead to tax rebates of around £750 million.
Robert Hayton, UK President of Altus Group, said the Chancellor must immediately intervene setting stringent targets for clearance by the end of the year adding “there is a cost-of-doing-business crisis, insolvencies are on the rise, yet firms are being denied a vital cash injection as their rates Challenges are kicked down the road.”
According to The Insolvency Service, between 1st April and 30th June 2022, there were 5,629 registered company insolvencies. The number of company insolvencies in the second quarter of 2022 was 13% higher than in the first quarter and 81% higher than in the same quarter in 2021.
The Bank of England has also warned that the UK will enter recession and the longest downturn since 2008 with the economy forecast to shrink in the last three months of this year and keep shrinking until the end of 2023.