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How the VOA will handle your formal appeal
An appeal against a rateable value begins with a proposal to alter the rating list. The process is free of charge.
Before making a proposal, you can contact your local valuation office to discuss your rateable value and why you want to appeal against it. We may be able to resolve the matter without you needing to go down the formal procedure.
There is a quick outline of the procedure for making an appeal which includes links to the online proposal form and what the next steps will be.
How we handle your appeal
We are committed to dealing with all appeals fairly, and follow the process detailed below. We will always attempt to resolve an appeal by discussing it with you.
There are three stages in the process:
- Submitting an appeal.
- Formal discussion and providing evidence
- Going to the Valuation Tribunal
Submitting an appeal
You can submit an appeal online, or contact your local Valuation Office to request a form.
When we’ve received your appeal we’ll normally acknowledge it within three working days and provide you with a case number.
We will also check if the appeal appears to be valid on the basis of the information available to us. This means we’ll check that the proposal form has been filled in correctly and that the reason is one we can accept. It does not mean that we accept that the rateable value is wrong.
- If we believe the appeal is not valid, we will notify you of this normally within three working days of receipt, although we may contact you later than this if we become aware of a problem.
- If we believe the appeal is valid we may ask to arrange a visit to the property to check we hold the right factual details.
- You can also check the property details we hold and we ask that you let us know of any discrepancies as soon as possible.
We try to resolve all appeals promptly, especially if there is evidence of financial hardship.
There are three types of proposal where we are committed to make a decision within two months:
- Physical changes to the property
- Changes in occupation that require new rateable values
- Exemption from business rates.
In these cases, if your appeal cannot be resolved within two months then we will decide, based on the individual case, on the next steps.
Your appeal will either:
- be placed in a programme to be formally discussed
- be sent to the Valuation Tribunal to be listed for a hearing.
All other cases are discussed individually but we will group together appeals on properties of a similar or related type, in a defined geographic area, into ‘programmes’. These programmes allow a set period of time for discussions to take place and specify the start date and target date for those discussions. They help us deal with appeals more effectively by bringing together all the relevant evidence for those properties.
We will publish draft programmes online for comment and we will write to you when your programme is finalised to tell you the discussion period dates and any other relevant details, including who you need to contact.
Formal discussions and providing evidence
The formal discussion period will be at least two months long. It will only be shorter in exceptional circumstances.
If your appeal is very complex, we may set a discussion period that is up to four months long.
This is the start of the formal discussion period. We will give you two months notice of this date, and will write to you again a week before it starts. We will then contact you to discuss your appeal.
- We expect you to provide evidence to support your case and to tell us about any factual discrepancies. It is helpful if you have this ready within two weeks of the start date.
- Late presentation of evidence or factual issues can delay resolving your appeal.
This is the end of the formal discussion period. Any appeals that have not been resolved by this date will be dealt with by the Valuation Tribunal.
We do not continue discussions after the target date unless:
- Discussions started in good time
- There is a reasonable expectation that discussions are about to conclude.
This is so that the Valuation Tribunal only makes arrangements for cases that will go ahead, and that other ratepayers’ cases are not delayed by overrunning discussions.
Providing evidence to support your appeal
During the discussion period, we will expect you to:
- explain clearly why you believe the rateable value is wrong
- provide evidence that supports your belief
- provide an alternative valuation.
In response, if we are unable to agree with you, we will:
- explain the rateable value
- provide relevant evidence to support the rateable value and/or deal with the issues raised by your alternative valuation.
Going to the Valuation Tribunal
If we have not reached an agreement with you by the target date and you do not withdraw your appeal, your case will be dealt with by the Valuation Tribunal. The Tribunal will list the appeal for a public hearing.
There are variations in how the Valuation Tribunal works, depending if you are in England or Wales. Please read the relevant details below.
In England the Valuation Tribunal have set down rules which you should read. The key points are:
- The hearing date will normally be twelve weeks after the target date. You will normally receive notice, from the Tribunal, of the hearing date ten weeks in advance. You will also receive notice of the dates when all documents to be used in the hearing need to be submitted.
- If you have been discussing the proposal with us, we will provide you with a notice of the information that we may refer to at the hearing. This will be provided eight weeks before the hearing date.
Protocol for acceptable means of service of documents on the VO and by the VO
It is important that you understand the requirements for serving documents on the valuation officer and how they may be served on you as part of the valuation tribunal procedure. Please follow this link to read about the correct methods of service to comply with the VOA�s published protocol.
If you have not been discussing the proposal with us then we may not provide the information until we have received a Statement of Case from you.
- You will need to submit a written Statement of Case to us and the Tribunal six weeks before the hearing date.
- This should set out the disputed issues, the outcome you are seeking, and a summary of your arguments and evidence.
In reply we will then submit our written Statement of Case to you and the Tribunal four weeks before the hearing date.
- At the hearing, you need to satisfy the Tribunal that your proposal to change the rateable value should be accepted.
In Wales the Valuation Tribunal Wales have not set down any written rules, but:
- You will normally receive notice, from the Tribunal, of the hearing date several weeks in advance.
- We will provide you with a notice of the information that we may refer to at the hearing at least three weeks before the hearing date.