Guidance

Online check and challenge update May 2018

An update on the programme of planned improvements to the online check and challenge service.

Documents

Details

Introduction

Our check and challenge service was launched in April 2017, as part of the government’s reforms of the business rates appeal system (Check, Challenge, Appeal).

Check and challenge allows businesses to check the facts held about their property and view their valuation details before deciding whether to challenge their valuation. This minimises uncertainty, ensuring businesses reach a resolution quicker. It also reduces uncertainty for local authorities (who have to set aside money to cover potential appeals).

  • The check stage sets out exactly how a valuation has been calculated. It will show the owner or occupier the facts that we have used, and allow them to update them if any have changed, or confirm them as correct. This will mean that everyone understands and agrees the set of facts underlying any valuation. If these facts change significantly, the valuation can be amended at this stage if necessary.

  • The challenge stage allows people to challenge the valuation if they feel the calculation done on the basis of the facts established at check is incorrect. Ratepayers or their agents will provide the full evidence for their challenge, giving the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) the opportunity to resolve the issue without the need for an appeal. VOA will present the full evidence to support their decision.

Sign in or register to use the online service.

Service development

The check and challenge service is in beta, which means it’s a new service we are evaluating and improving, using customer feedback. Our aim is to ensure the service works effectively for all our customers, whether they have one business property, or many.

Since we launched last year, we have added a number of new features and improvements, including:

  • tabs to help customers navigate their dashboard and the ability to update their details on the service
  • ‘Save’ option, allowing customers to complete a check at a pace that suits them. ‘View saved cases’ and ‘search and sort’ functions, making it easier to manage multiple properties
  • ability to add new floors or floor areas ‘in-page’, rather than upload documentation
  • clarification around the reasons for submitting a check, and ‘eligibility’ advice for customers wanting to see if they are able to submit a challenge
  • customers and their agents automatically sent check confirmation email, containing key case identifiers, and service correspondence accessed from the dashboard
  • customers provided with a downloadable summary of their check case
  • online valuations for properties valued using ‘fair maintainable turnover’ - most pubs and hotels

Coming soon

June

Group pre-challenge review

The group pre-challenge review allows groups of properties to have their evidence to support a challenge reviewed collectively. Read more about group pre-challenge reviews.

Registration process - adding agents as assistants

Agents are currently not able to claim properties on behalf of their client. We’ll be updating our guidance to explain that agents can be given an assistant account within an organisation’s account, allowing them to carry out this function. The agent will need separate logins for each assistant account they are given. The organisation giving the agent the assistant account is responsible for granting and controlling their access to their account.

July to September

Application programming interfaces (APIs)

We understand our customers are busy and want to be able to use our check and challenge service in ways that suit them. We are working towards this, with the development of application programming interfaces, or APIs. APIs allow users of our service to integrate their applications, or software, with ours. This means they can extract and provide information directly through their own systems. The estates manager of a large company could, for example, view all the properties claimed by their organisation on the check and challenge service through their own operating system, if they have created a connection using an API. It works in the same way as apps on your phone.

The APIs are of most interest to software developers of customers, or their agents, who are managing a portfolio of properties. Between now and September 2018, we will be releasing a series of APIs, which will enable linking to specific functions within our check and challenge service:

  • view any or all of the properties that you’ve claimed for your organisation
  • claim properties that you have an interest in
  • view any or all of the properties claimed by an organisation that you are the appointed agent for
  • view the detailed valuation for any or all of the properties you’ve claimed
  • submit a check against any or all of the properties you’ve claimed

This list is not definitive and may be subject to change as we develop options.

If you’re a software developer, you can register with HMRC’s API development hub to learn about and integrate with current APIs.

Registration process - further improvements

Our registration process aims to protect the information we hold, and ensure that the person we’re dealing with is who they say they are. We will be making the registration process for the check and challenge service easier, bringing in changes that address the issues raised by our customers.

Online valuations

We expect to add online valuations for more classes of property, making it quicker for those customers to check the property details that underpin their assessment for business rates.

October to December

Continuing to build upon our automated correspondence service

We want to keep our customers updated on progress with their case, and support our colleagues in providing an efficient service. System generated messages to our customers (auto-correspondence) will help meet both these targets.

First stages of digitising the ‘challenge’ customer journey

The check and challenge service is designed as a digital solution, ensuring our customers can resolve their issues at a time and place convenient to them. Making the challenge part of the customer journey digital is one of our key aims.

Published 31 August 2017
Last updated 14 May 2018 + show all updates
  1. Updated with latest planned improvements
  2. First published.