VOA facing backlog of more than 280,000 business rates appeals

Mark Rigby, chief executive of business rates specialist CVS.

Mark Rigby, chief executive of business rates specialist CVS. - Credit: Mark Waugh

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is facing a backlog of more than 280,000 appeals over business rates.

And, according to business rates specialist CVS, the value of cases subject to appeal in Suffolk and north Essex alone is more than £30million.

CVS says the number of appeals unresolved in March 2015 was 25% up on a year earlier, following an increase in appeals in the wake of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement reforms to restrict backdated claims.

However, while the Government has attributed the increase in unresolved cases to the increased number of appeals, CVS says the rise in the backlog is disproportionate.

Mark Rigby, chief executive of CVS, said: “These statistics show both the enormous scale of the challenge facing the VOA and the clear appetite from businesses for much more transparency over rates.

“The VOA is coming under huge pressure from hefty appeals targets, major Government rule changes, and delivering the 2017 revaluation, all while headcount is being reduced and regional offices closed.

“These latest statistics show clearly that these resource pressures and additional appeals bureaucracy, and not the volume of new appeals, which has not significantly increased, are responsible for the slow clearance rate and the major backlog.”

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The rule change announced in the Autumm Statement remove the ability of businesses to backdate any savings resulting from a successful appeal to the period between 2010 and 2015.

This means that businesses would lose out on five years’ worth of overpaid rates and only be repaid for sums overcharged between 2015 and 2017.