A guide to the business rates appeal process for properties in Wales. Check the rateable value of your property, learn how the value is determined and how to make an appeal.
Rateable value and business rates
The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) sets the rateable value for non-domestic property (any property or land which isn’t solely used residentially). A property may contain a number of non-domestic owners and occupiers, so rateable values are given to each separately-occupied unit of property. A list of rateable values is provided to local councils, which they use to calculate business rates (also known as non-domestic rates).
Non-domestic properties that also have a domestic part (such as a shop with the shop owner’s flat above it) are valued for both business rates and Council Tax.
The billing and collection of business rates is dealt with by local councils. If you have a problem paying your business rates bill you should contact the relevant local authority (council). The VOA can’t advise or help with business rates bills or payment queries.
You can find out how the VOA values non-domestic properties.
Check your rateable value
Through this service you can also view your valuation and review the information the VOA holds on your property.
What to do if you think the property details or the valuation is wrong
To be sure that you’re paying the correct business rates it’s important that the rateable value is based on the correct information about your property. If you think that any of the factual details about your property (such as number of floors or the description) held by the VOA are wrong you should tell them by emailing email@example.com, making sure to include ‘NDR Wales factual enquiry’ in the subject line. You can only do this if you have the right to as the owner or occupier.
You should discuss your rateable value and clearly explain why you believe your assessment is incorrect.
You may want to supply evidence to support any factual changes. This could include photographs, plans and rent agreements. You don’t have to provide any supporting documents, but the more evidence you provide the easier it will be to progress your enquiry.
In most instances the VOA are able to resolve the matter at this stage.
Before contacting the VOA you may want to compare your property to properties in your area that are of similar age, size and character. This will help you to determine if your property has been valued fairly. You should consider the similarities and differences between your property and the ones you are comparing it with. You can compare your property with others in the same ‘valuation scheme’ online.
You can find out more about valuation schemes and how the VOA values non-domestic properties.
After you contact the VOA
They’ll review the details you send them. In some cases they may need to contact you for more information or to arrange to visit your property. If necessary they’ll amend the rating list and provide you with written notification of the alteration.
It’s important to understand that suggesting changes to the details could lead to a change in the rateable value. This could be a reduction, an increase or it could remain the same.
What to do if you don’t agree with the VOA
If you don’t agree with the outcome of the discussions you can, in certain circumstances, make an appeal.
The appeals process
There are 3 main stages in the process:
- Submit an appeal to alter the rating providing evidence about why you think your valuation is wrong.
- Formal discussions where your evidence to support your view will be reviewed and facts agreed.
- Present your case to a Valuation Tribunal for Wales if it’s not possible to resolve your appeal through discussion with the VOA.
This process is free of charge and can be undertaken by yourself. You can also authorise an agent to do this on your behalf.
Submit an appeal
You should use the online service to appeal your business rates.
You can also download the appeal form and guidance notes for Wales and return the completed form by email.
The guidance notes explain:
- who may appeal
- the circumstances and grounds on which an appeal can be made
- time limits for service and how an appeal must be served
Please make it clear on the form if you’re suffering from financial hardship. The information you provide may allow them to prioritise your case.
You must continue to pay your business rates bill during the appeal.
What you should include in your appeal
It’s your responsibility to define clearly why you believe that the rating list should be altered. To do this you’ll need to:
- identify factual discrepancies
- provide evidence to support your arguments
- provide an alternative valuation
It’s helpful if you have this ready within 2 weeks of the start date of the discussion period. This will enable the VOA to be in a position to enter into meaningful discussions to resolve your appeal.
If you send in your presentation of evidence or factual issues late this can delay resolving your appeal.
After you submit your appeal
The VOA will acknowledge receipt and provide you with a case number.
They’ll check if the appeal appears to be valid, based on the information that you’ve provided. This means they’ll check that the proposal form has been filled in correctly and that the reason given is one of the grounds defined by legislation.
If it is they will accept your appeal as valid. This means your appeal meets the statutory requirements for completion. It doesn’t mean they accept that the rateable value is wrong.
If the appeal is accepted
If the VOA believes the appeal is valid they’ll contact you at each stage in the process and write to inform you of the period during which your appeal can be discussed.
The VOA will try to resolve all appeals promptly and will prioritise appeals where the grounds are factual or where financial hardship is identified.
If the appeal isn’t accepted
If the VOA doesn’t believe that the appeal is valid, they’ll contact you to explain the reasons why and what your options are.
Programme for discussion
Your appeal will be placed in a programme for discussion which allows a specific timeframe for discussion with a start date and target date. They’ll notify you of the programme details and will write to you again before the start date to invite discussion and exchange evidence.
Going to the Valuation Tribunal
If your appeal hasn’t been resolved by the end of the discussion period your case will be dealt with by the Valuation Tribunal. The Valuation Tribunal for Wales (VTW) will list the appeal for a public hearing.
The VTW has Best Practice Protocols which you should read. The key points are the:
- Valuation Tribunal, wherever possible, will arrange for the first hearing of an appeal within 6 to 8 weeks of the target date unless it’s been determined that the appeal should proceed initially to a pre hearing review
- Valuation Tribunal will give a minimum of 28 days’ notice of the date, time and place of the hearing
- Valuation Officer must provide details of the rental evidence that they wish to refer to at the hearing at least 3 weeks before the hearing date
- Valuation Tribunal expects that all parties to the appeal discuss and exchange evidence at least 2 weeks before the hearing day
You should submit your evidence, setting out your reasons for appealing, to the VOA. This should be no later than 2 weeks before the hearing date.
The documents should set out the disputed issues, state the outcome you’re seeking, and summarise your evidence and arguments.
In reply the VOA will submit their written case to you.
At the hearing you’ll need to satisfy the Tribunal why your proposal to challenge the rateable value should be accepted.
Guidance about the Tribunal hearing, and how to prepare your case can be found on the VTW website.
You can serve your documents by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to:
Valuation Office Agency
Tŷ Rhodfa, Tŷ Glas Road
Asiantaeth Swyddfa Brisio
Heol Tŷ Glas
Service by email should include in the subject line the VOA case number (shown on correspondence) and the property address.
Your email should be no more than 1MB to guarantee that the documents are received.