MPs Will Today Debate Legislation Aimed At Denying Firms Right To Seek Around £5 Billion In Tax Rebates.

The move comes after more than 1,400 commercial premises a day in England sought to challenge their property assessment during the first quarter of the year.

The influx in appeals reflected the restrictive measures introduced to counter the pandemic which hit occupiers of commercial property hard and significantly reduced their rental worth.

‘Material change in circumstances’ appeals allow ratepayers to seek substantial adjustments to their rateable value ultimately reducing business rates liabilities with the Rating Surveyors Association estimating that the overall value of appeals due to coronavirus at around £5 billion.

The third national lockdown led to a huge surge in business rates appeals in England with 127,750 Checks, the first stage of an appeal, being lodged between 1st January 2021 and 31st March 2021.

In late March the Government announced that instead of the ordinary right of appeal it would provide a £1.5 billion pot outside of the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors aimed at those who had suffered the most economically rather than based upon falls in property values.

Today’s second reading of the Rating (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Bill seeks to throw out hundreds of thousands of legitimate appeals by retrospectively changing the law.

Robert Hayton, U.K. President of Property Tax at the real estate adviser Altus Group, Britain’s largest ratings advisory said, “removing the statutory legal right from firms is plain wrong. The replacement scheme is wholly inadequate. It won’t deliver enough support quickly enough and will exclude those firms still trading under restrictions. This Bill threatens the post pandemic recovery.”