New data released by the Government shows that a backlog in cases under the new appeals system is being created.
The government figures show that since the new Check , Challenge , Appeal system was introduced there have been 100,740 checks registered, with 64,440 lodged in the last year alone and 18,340 registered in the past three months suggesting that the lodging of checks appears to be gathering pace.
Challenges lodged total 17,010 but only 6,300 (37%) of these have been resolved so far with 10,710 (63%) marked incomplete or outstanding.
While there is an evidently a backlog of checks and challenges to be dealt with, the data shows that for those that have been concluded it is more likely the process will end in success for the ratepayer. For the checks and challenges resolved, 67.6% and 60.1% respectively have resulted in a reduction.
It could be argued that the high percentage of reductions is due to the new system removing the ability of agents and ratepayers to lodge speculative appeals as previously no evidence or grounds for a reduction was needed at the initial stage. The new system now requires ratepayers or agents to provide as much evidence as possible from the start of the process.
However, the new system has also come under fire for being overly complicated. The new online portal is hard to navigate and the lack of information given to ratepayers about the system has put a lot of companies off lodging a check , despite them likely having good reason to challenge their rates.
With the lodging of checks increasing the likelihood is that the backlog will continue to grow, causing frustration and possible financial struggles for ratepayers paying business rates that are higher than they should be. While those who eventually see success will be refunded any overpaid business rates, it does nothing to help those in the immediate future. With rates as one of the highest outgoings how many companies will find their rates reduction is too late?