Apart from properties that are exempt from business rates, each non-domestic property has a rateable value which is normally set by the valuation officers of the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an agency of the Inland Revenue. It draws up and maintains a full list of all the rateable values, which are available on the website at www.voa.gov.uk
If you think the rateable value of your property is wrong, you can query it, or make an appeal in the form of a proposal to alter the rating list. See the page in this guide on checking your rateable value.
Once you have submitted a proposal to alter the rating list, the valuation office will let you know when your case will come up. They may be able to speed things up if you are suffering genuine hardship.
Most cases are settled by agreement. Where agreement is not reached within three months of receipt of your proposal form, it will be automatically referred to the local valuation tribunal in England and Wales. Similar arrangements apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
You may still be able to settle your case by agreement after it has been referred. If not, the tribunal will hear your appeal. The tribunal is free, but you have to pay the costs of any professional adviser you decide to use. See the page in this guide on employing a rating agent.
You will be given at least four weeks' notice of the date, time and place of the hearing. At least three weeks before, the valuation office will tell you about rents of similar properties that they might use to justify their valuation of your premises. Checking these and discussing your case with them may still allow you to reach agreement.
You do not have to go to the hearing - you can state your case in writing if you prefer - but it is advisable to attend in case the tribunal needs any extra information. You should take any relevant documents or photographs with you.
You must continue to pay your rates until a decision has been reached. If you are successful, your council will pay back any overpayment with interestClose