Penalty charges proposed as part of business rate appeals
If there was not enough wailing about business rates already, the Government is doing its best to cause even more fury by proposing penalty notices as part of the new ‘Check Challenge Appeal’ process.
The draft regulations laid before Parliament at the end of 2017 impose a penalty of £500 (reduced to £200 for “small proposers”) for incorrect information supplied in, or in connection with, a proposal to alter the rating list.
The penalty follows information supplied that is “false in a material particular” and is supplied “knowingly, recklessly or carelessly”.
The “in connection with” phrase is vague and could apply to all stages of the process. “Small proposers” relates to businesses with a turnover or balance sheet less than £2m and fewer that ten employees.
These regulations still have to be debated and approved by Parliament, so it certainly is not a done deal. Please Parliament, do the right thing!
Along with the fees required to lodge an appeal to the Valuation Tribunal England, you have to conclude that this is just another ruse to discourage businesses from challenging their business rates and seeking justice rather than any meaningful addition to make the CCA process more efficient.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan is the latest big name to call on the government to extend the business rates holiday beyond April 2021.
The retail and hospitality sectors are mobilising the troops with dire warnings that thousands of business are at risk if the rates holiday isn’t extended beyond April 2021.
The pandemic has led to more than 50,000 extra appeals being lodged against business rates by Scottish firms alone.