As ratepayers wait for the advent of a newly reformed rating system christened ‘Check, Challenge, Appeal’ concerns are growing amongst practitioners that the system will be beset by teething delays and a minefield of bureaucracy.
As this newsletter goes out there is as yet no working computer portal at the Valuation Office for the initial checking stage although the system is likely to have limited functionality and there remain many unanswered questions as to how challenges will be processed.
Despite spending the last 12 months in design (and with less than 3 months before the deadline for registering a start of the new process) there is no prototype and ratepayer representatives have not been supplied with full details on how they can properly communicate with the VOA’s portal. It is difficult to conclude that anyone in Government knows how the process will work unless we take the more cynical view that Government has just decided not to receive any appeals! At best there will be inevitable confusion and delays of up to 34 months to get to a proper appeal. At worst the system will collapse and be referred to the Government’s IT operating table for a costly dose of gas and air. As ever a system of subjective assessment based upon evidence demands a proper system of enquiry, review, correction and recompense. The question now is: How does the Government ensure balance and fairness?
Montagu Evans’ rating department continues to liaise with the VOA through our leadership roles at the RICS Local Taxation Committee (Mark Higgin) and the Rating Surveyors Association (Josh Myerson and Sarah Donovan). Our clients will rest assured of regular updates and proper protection as the system evolves.