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CVS attempts to kick proposed ‘professional judgement’ test into the long grass

Before Christmas, CVS Business Rent & Rates Specialists delivered the news to all 522 English MP’s that if the Government proposed ‘professional judgement’ test is passed, then businesses within their constituency will have to pay rates bills, even if they’re wrong.

If the Government pass this controversial and manifestly unjust clause, it will raise serious questions as to the legality of the way in which the Uniform Business Rate (UBR) was set in November 2016.

If passed as secondary legislation, as of April 2017, the Valuation Tribunal for England (VTE) will only be able to order a change to the assessment value of a property if the existing valuation was, in their ‘professional’ opinion, “outside the bounds of reasonable professional judgement”. This means that through the application of the ‘professional judgement’ test, bills could be wrong by up to a rumoured 20% but won’t be changed, therefore lumbering the occupier with an inaccurate bill.

Not a lot is known about the full extent of the ‘professional judgement’ test, but CVS Surveyors believe that is wholly unfair and potentially hugely damaging to businesses across England. To support their stance to the MP’s, they directed them here, where they can see information pertaining to the amount of successful appeals resolved in each constituency on the 2010 Rating List, and to what extent the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) had over-assessed businesses by.

In CVS’ document there are significant movements in Rateable Value from previous successful appeals. It’s clear that the VOA and their assessments are not always accurate. What’s more, there’s still a staggering 280,000 unresolved cases at the VOA, meaning that even that data doesn’t tell the whole story.

By applying the proposed test, many future assessments may not be changed because the percentage movements would be deemed to fall within the ‘bounds of reasonable professional judgement’.

CVS vigorously opposes this proposal and are doing everything they can to encourage the Government to realise that their proposed legislation runs totally counter to their ‘pro-business’ agenda, especially at a time when the UK needs to remain competitive post-Brexit.

Businesses should not be fettered or constrained in their ability to receive the benefit of genuine and valid reductions in Rateable Values, which would be a consequence of the proposed legislation.

CVS welcomes the opportunity to discuss this further. You can get in touch with their press team on press@cvsuk.com or you can follow them on Twitter and LinkedIn, or check out their Google Plus and YouTube sites.

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