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BUSINESSES URGED TO APPEAL RATES BILLS

Businesses whose rates bills have increased following this year’s Non-Domestic Rates revaluation have been urged to lodge appeals before the deadline of 30 September. Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC), who are campaigning for the Scottish Government to ease the burden of higher rates bills, are reminding businesses that there is still time to challenge rating assessments that they feel may be unfair. Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of SCC, said:

“This year’s Non-Domestic Rates revaluation has resulted in many businesses being landed with increases in their rates bills of 50%, 100% and in some cases over 200%. Coming at a time when the Scottish economy is struggling to sustain renewed growth, the burden of sudden hikes in rates bills could damage businesses during a period of extreme fragility.

“However it is not too late for businesses to appeal against rates valuations which they believe are unfair or unwarranted, and appeals can be made to the local Assessor’s office by 30 September 2010. We would urge any business which feels that its valuation is wrong to lodge an appeal as soon as possible. An appeal can be submitted by the business itself or through one of the many rating agents offering professional advice throughout Scotland.

“Given the impact of the recession on the Scottish economy over the past two years, there are legitimate questions to be asked about the appropriateness of rates valuations in certain cases. These need to be put to the test and that is why those businesses with concerns over valuations should appeal before the deadline.

“Businesses should also remember that successful appeals could result in their becoming eligible for rates reliefs, such as the Scottish Government’s Small Business Bonus Scheme, and that these reliefs can be backdated. This is yet another reason why we need to ensure that businesses have an accurate and evidenced valuation. Any money that businesses are able to save through reduced valuations or additional reliefs will make a significant difference to them in the current economic climate.

“In the meantime, Scottish Chambers of Commerce is continuing to campaign for a better deal for Scottish businesses on Non-Domestic Rates. We are lobbying for the reintroduction of Transitional Relief to help those businesses hardest hit by revaluation, and we are working with the Scottish Government to streamline the rating appeals process.”

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