Deadline for appeals ‘could hit businesses’

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Businesses in Lancashire face losing out on five years of refunds on their business rates because of the Government’s controversial imposition of a looming deadline for appeals, warn real estate advisors Colliers International.

Adam Burke, head of rating at the North West office of Colliers International in Manchester, feared most businesses are unaware of a Government-imposed deadline of April 1 for appeals on their business rates valuations.

The deadline was “almost lost in the small print” of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement in December 2014 with “certainly no attention drawn to it,” said Mr Burke.

He explained: “Despite having extended the time period for the revaluation of businesses on the ratings list from five to seven years (extended to 2017) they haven’t extended the period to appeal.

“This means that whilst businesses will still be able to appeal between April 2015 and 2017, any refunds or savings will only be backdated to April 2015, meaning that businesses could lose out on five years’ worth of refunds.Making this announcement only weeks before the cut off is scandalous. The Government wants it both ways – an extension to the list but no extension to the appeal deadline.”

Mr Burke said the Government had not explained why this decision was made but believed it was designed to curtail the ability of businesses to appeal while giving it more certainty about what it collects in tax.