Companies demand business rates refund after £2.1bn government fund revealed

Businesses across the UK are on the warpath to recoup money spent on soaring business rates, after a government fund containing £2.1bn designated for spending on appeals against business rates has emerged.

According to the Evening Standard the fund is made up of 3.6% of the total business rates bill. The money is set aside to pay out when appeals are successful, but over the past five years only 1.4% of the total tax has been allocated to appealing businesses.

The money, which is held by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is not allowed to accrue interest.

The emergence of the fund has led to loud calls for reform to the business rates system over which the VOA presides.

British Independent Retailers deputy chief executive Association Michael Weedon said to the Standard: “The whole business rates calculation is a monstrous complexity which stretches to 200 pages. The whole system is very opaque.

“One of the ways they can avoid arbitrary calculations like this is getting the valuation right in the first place. If they simplified the system that would reduce the number of appeals. Then they wouldn’t need to come up with these decisions on how much to allow for appeals.”

 

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