The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) has launched a public consultation to ask what information should be shared about business rates. The VOA is seeking views from ratepayers, landlords, business owners, and leaders on three specific areas: what extra information should be provided, what is necessary to determine if a valuation is accurate and fair, and what is considered sensitive data.
The cost of running a business, from energy prices to wages and supply issues, has been increasing, leading to a rise in taxes and interest rates in an effort to control inflation. Studies published in 2022 have revealed that excessive corporate profits have contributed to nearly 59% of inflation during the cost-of-living crisis in the UK.
The question of more frequent property valuations has been a major topic of discussion regarding the reform of the UK’s business rates tax system. Anthony Hughes, Managing Director of RVA Surveyors, commented: “Overhauling the business rates tax system is a very, very frequent discussion. Many believe that more frequent valuations will do the trick, however this is only part of it. A commercial property’s space and usage can change in value, an increase, or a decrease. This then affects what business rates you pay on that property. Unless physical, on-site inspections are conducted on every commercial property to ensure accuracy, the VOA cannot guarantee a fair tax. The VOA employs almost four thousand people. Roughly half of these are surveyors. It is well within their ability and manpower to conduct physical inspections on every commercial property in a three-year rating list.”
With this in mind, the VOA has launched a consultation to ask the public’s opinion on how best to reform the business rates tax system. The consultation will focus on what extra information should be provided, what is necessary to determine if a valuation is accurate and fair, as well as what is considered sensitive data.