Important rating decision affecting hundreds of North West businesses
A quick note about an important decision that has been published recently but seems to have been lost in the aftermath of budget and business rates debates. It should be of interest to anyone who currently hosts an ATM/cashpoint machine in their premises – not just rating geeks such as myself.
The Valuation Tribunal England has made a ruling in respect of ATM sites – something that could have had implications for hundreds of businesses across the North West.
Various agents had been seeking to secure a deletion of ATM sites from the Rating List or, alternatively, a merger of the assessment with the host store – this has now being dismissed.
In summary, the Vice President of the Tribunal had to decide whether or not the sites of the various ATMs (which themselves are non-rateable plant and machinery) should be subject to separate assessments for rating purposes because they are:
- a) Capable of being separately identified as a hereditament;
- b) A self-contained unit; and
- c) Not in the occupation of the host retailer but are in the occupation of a third party ATM operator.
The appellants tried to argue that when you remove the non-rateable plant and machinery from the site there is nothing left to identify it. The Vice President referred to various authorities and said that each site had a clearly defined physical area. Its definition might not be marked by chalk or some other boundary marking but is a physical area that the host store or retailer cannot use. In other words the land is not used by the host store but by the operator as a site for an ATM and is rateable as such.
Clearly the decision has implications for other types of hereditament… watch this space for reference of the decision to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber)…
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The pandemic has led to more than 50,000 extra appeals being lodged against business rates by Scottish firms alone.