Appeals system could cost SMEs £700m
A proposed new business rates appeal system has been slammed by business groups representing SMEs, retailers and pubs. They say a provision in the appeal regime, known as Check, Challenge, Appeal, could cost businesses £700m in overpayments over a five-year ratings cycle. The “reasonable professional judgment” provision would mean ratepayers will not be able to argue against a rates bill if its margin of error was inside 15%. Research by property consultancy Daniel Watney and Blackstock Consulting shows some firms could be pushed above the exemption criteria by a 15% margin. Martin McTague, of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “This research shows that businesses that are already struggling could be pushed into insolvency, with smaller firms particularly at risk.” The groups said the Government should revert to an earlier system to try to cap the increase that businesses will have next year at 12.5%.