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:

  1. a) Capable of being separately identified as a hereditament;
  2. b) A self-contained unit; and
  3. 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)…


Your Comments

What has made this particularly annoying, and places it firmly in the ‘stealth tax’ category, is the fact that when they carve out the new RV, they usually don’t reduce the tax on the property that’s been ‘calved’.

For example a small Co-op in North Liverpool only had an RV of £21,000. The Valuation Office then assessed the ATM at £14,000, They quite rightly deleted the old assessment, but then re-assessed the shop at….£21,000 RV! They even backdated it all to 2010 in 2014, and just to show they knew exactly what was what, they issued Transitional Certificates back to 2005 to maintain the tax grab. A tax increase for the Co-op of £49,000 over 7 years. Shocking!

By Julian Rosenthal

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