Earlier this year the Supreme Court determined that the Valuation Office Agency's (HMRC) practice of refusing to reduce the rateable value for buildings underdoing development works, unless they conformed with their narrow interpretation of the legislation, was in fact wrong.
This practice had been in force since 2010 and has resulted in overpayment of rates by a significant number of businesses. Fortunately, businesses who carried out such works since April 2015 can now use this decision to lodge an appeal and negotiate a refund where applicable.
However, the right to lodge the appeal will be lost on the 30th September 2017. After this time the ratepayer will have to rely on the VOA (HMRC) to look favourably on their case as they have the power until 1st April 2018 to amend the list.
The key points of the decision in S J & J Monk v K Newbigin (VO)  UKSC 14 are as follows:
- The VOA policy of ignoring the works where it can be shown that it was economical to repair the property was overturned.
- The correct approach, was to look objectively at the works and consider whether, there was, in reality a development scheme in place.
- If there is a scheme in operation then the property should be assessed as a building undergoing reconstruction and reduced to RV £ 1.00.
We recognised how important this case was to our clients and we were one of the co-funders of the Rating Surveyors Association intervention into this case.