The economic impact of Covid-19 has led to a “huge” 690% surge in tax appeals in England with 2,230 non-domestic premises every working day challenging their property valuations which form the basis of business rates bills, a Government agency has confirmed.
Data released from The Valuation Office Agency shows a total of 144,910 shops, pubs, restaurants, offices, factories as well as public sector buildings, lodged a check to their property tax valuation during the first three months of the 2020/21 financial year.
This is in stark contrast to the corresponding period in 2019/20 when just 18,340 checks were raised between 1 April to 30 June 2019.
A check is the first stage of a formal appeal under a three stage process called ‘Check Challenge Appeal’ with Alex Probyn, UK president of the real estate adviser Altus Group, commenting on the figures: “The impacts of Covid-19 on property are already obvious arising from the national restrictive measures introduced to counter the pandemic and grounds exist to support a substantial and prolonged reduction.”
The Government has also delayed the next revaluation of business rates in England until 2023 so that property valuations can be calculated by reference to emerging post coronavirus rents that are being paid on 1 April 2021.
Currently the Treasury has written off business rates bills this financial year to the value of £10.22bn for all occupied retail, leisure and hospitality properties.