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Part 4: Check Challenge Appeal

Valuation Office Agency

August 5
10:29 2020

Part A: overview

1. Background

In 2017 new regulations were introduced for England only regarding the procedure for challenging the assessments of properties for all rating lists compiled on or after 1 April 2017.

The new system in England is referred to as Check Challenge Appeal.

For rating lists in Wales and for rating lists compiled before 1 April 2017 in England the previous procedures still apply.

This section is divided into chapters to reflect the different procedures that are applied, so it is important that the correct regulations are followed for the relevant rating list year and location of the property.

Summary of Relevant Legislation and Practice Statements

Most of the references in this document refer to SI 2009/2268, the Appeal Regulations, where other Regulations are referred to these are identified.

Relevant legislation

  1. a. The Non-Domestic Rating (Alteration of Lists and Appeals) (England) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/ 2268) (Appeal Regulations) as amended by (SI 2017 /155)

  2. b. The Non-Domestic Rating (Alteration of Lists and Appeals) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 (SI 2017 /155)

  3. c. The Valuation Tribunal for England (Council Tax and Rating Appeals) (Procedure) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009 / 2269) (Procedure Regulations) as amended by (SI 2017/156), 2018 (SI 2018/911)

  4. d. The Valuation Tribunal for England (Council Tax and Rating Appeals) (Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 (SI 2017/156)

  5. e. Non-Domestic Rating (Alteration of Lists, Appeals and Procedure) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/911)

  6. f. The Non-Domestic Rating (Material Day for List Alterations) 1992 (SI 1992/556) (as amended by SI 2017/155)

  7. g. Non-Domestic Rating (Alteration of Lists) and Business Rate Supplements (Transfer to Revenue Accounts) (Amendments etc.) (England) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/1193) Part 4

  8. h. Consolidated Practice Statement - Valuation Tribunal Service

For consolidated current regulations please use Lexis Nexis: (how to register and use)

VOA - Ryde on rating

Glossary

VO in this document refers to Valuation Officer

VOA refers to the Valuation Office Agency

CVO refers to the Central Valuation Officer

1.1 Changes

For further information please see CCA homepage

For consolidated regulations please use Lexis Nexis: (how to register and use)

VOA - Ryde on rating

When the 2017 rating lists came into force on 1 April 2017, new Regulations (SI 2017/155 and 2017/156), amending SI 2009/2268 and 2009/2269, were introduced changing the process for altering and appealing a rating list in England.

The new procedure is commonly known as Check, Challenge (proposal stage), Appeal. Unlike previous proposal and appeal procedures prior to 2017, the progression through to the next stage of the process is not automatic. The Interested Person (IP), defined below, has to actively submit information via the specified electronic portal to initiate the start of each stage.

The main changes in the Regulations are summarised below:

  1. 1. Introduction of VOAs electronic portal to request and supply Check information (Reg 4B(5a)) or other manner as agreed with the VO. The portal is also used by the VOA for parties to register their identity and legal interest before a check can be submitted.
  2. 2. Grounds of proposal are set out in Reg 4 (largely as before but with the requirement for additional information that must be supplied)
  3. 3. Check process requirements (Reg 4A-F)
  4. 4. Challenge - Submission of proposals (Reg 6-7)
  5. 5. Incomplete proposals (Reg 8) replaces invalidity
  6. 6. Procedure for dealing with proposals (Reg 9)
  7. 7. Appeal process and changes to the grounds of Appeal (Reg13) via electronic Valuation Tribunal (England) (VTE) portal (Reg 13C)
  8. 8. Material day - changes (SI 1992/556)
  9. 9. Introduction of new Penalty processes for false information provided by the IP (Reg 9)

The new process now comprises Check, Challenge (submission and consideration of the Proposal) and Appeal (see CCA Process overview Appendix1) The new system is based on a three stage process Check, Challenge, and Appeal (CCA).

The three stages manage the flow of cases through the system and allow IPs to make an informed decision before proceeding to the next stage. Both the IP (or their agent) and the VO are required to set out the issues and arguments early in the process to encourage early settlement and reduce the number of speculative appeals. The aim is that the issues in dispute are fully addressed where possible at each stage of the process.

The VOA has developed a digital service to support the new system. The majority of checks and challenges are handled through this new digital service. Guidance to the service can be found on GOV.UK Find and check your business rates valuation - GOV.UK

The digital service requires the IP to declare their legal interest in property and, if the IP is represented by an agent, to formally declare the instruction through the VOA portal. The portal holds documents and correspondence between the VO and the IP, which both parties can view and which potentially could form part of a later appeal.

Summary of each stage of CCA (England 2017 only)

Please see Appendix 1 for a summary chart of key CCA events and legislation

1.2 Check

The Check stage requires the IP to confirm the accuracy of the facts upon which the rating list entry is based (as held on VOAs database) and any subsequent changes to the property.

The IP is required to certify details of the property attributes and other facts upon which the valuation is based. The IP can view the valuation on-line for most classes of property. However, due to the sensitive or complex nature of some classes, those valuations are redacted and the IP can make a request for the valuation details, known as a Detailed Valuation Request (DVR).

Check allows the VO to fully consider the facts and decide whether its records can simply be amended to reflect any changes declared by the IP or whether investigation or a discussion of the facts is necessary. Facts are corrected in Check where possible but facts in dispute might have to be dealt with in Challenge. The outcome of the Check stage may be

  1. the facts are agreed and the rating list is either confirmed as correct or altered when necessary to reflect the correct facts
  2. the facts are not agreed but points in dispute are clearly established so they can be addressed at the Challenge stage
  3. some of the facts are agreed and the rating list is altered to reflect the correct facts, where necessary, and the remaining points in dispute are clearly established so they can be addressed in Challenge.

The IP should understand at the end of Check why the VO has or has not taken action to amend the rating list. This stage is not where the IP disputes the valuation.

A Check must be made, before a proposal can be made, through the electronic portal or as otherwise agreed with the VO (Reg 4B(5)).

On the VOA computer system (RSA), Check case reference numbers start with CHK and the reference number for use in Caseworker Suite (the VOA portal where documents are saved) will be found in the RSA case notes.

1.3 Challenge (proposal stage)

If all the issues cannot be resolved in Check, if the IP is unhappy with the outcome of Check, or they wish to challenge the basis of the assessment or the valuation, they can make a Challenge:

Stages of making a challenge

a) IP makes a proposal

The grounds for challenging the valuation (i.e. grounds of proposal) are the same as available in the previous appeals system, this has not changed.

b) Provision of evidence with the proposal

If the IP is disputing the valuation at the Challenge stage, as opposed to just disputing facts, they have to provide an explanation of what aspect of the valuation they are disputing and why, together with an alternative valuation and supporting evidence or information with reasons and an explanation as to how they relate to the grounds.

The IP is expected to include all the evidence with reasoning, on which they intend to rely at the outset in their proposal.

c) VO reviews evidence

The VO considers the proposal and the evidence, discusses if necessary, and may issue an initial response. All evidence which the VO considers relevant should be included at this stage. Further evidence relating to the grounds of the proposal from the IP or information relating to the proposal supplied by the Billing Authority may be considered. If the proposal can be well-founded or agreement can be reached, the VO will amend the rating list if appropriate. The IP may also withdraw the proposal. All agreements or withdrawals will require the signature of the current ratepayer if they are not the maker of the proposal.

d) Issue of Decision Notice

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