Operators have until 31 March, when the next Rating List is introduced, to challenge the business rates paid on their property for the past five years.
Last month Manchester-based Commercial Valuers and Surveyors Ltd (CVS), said hoteliers could save up to £21k by challenging their business rates, and had already helped some large business to save thousands, including The Lanesborough (£1m) and Donnington Grove Hall Hotel (£85).
However, Gerald Eve, which advises 15 of the top 20 UK branded restaurant groups, has said the smallest error or estimate in an application submitted to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) could jeopardise its chance of succeeding.
Avoid mistakes and estimates
Richard Stoney, a restaurant partner at Gerald Eve, said: “The VOA scrutinizes every appeal made and if there is any mistake, however trivial it may seem, they will treat the appeal as invalid. And the right to correct bills over the last five years may be lost.
“For example, if a rent is paid for the property one must ensure it is stated accurately, not approximately. I know of cases where the appeal has been invalidated when the ratepayer said the property was freehold with no rent payable, whereas in truth it was held on a 999 year lease at a rent of £1. Ratepayers will not want to lose their appeal rights due to such pedantic treatment from the VOA”.
Gerald Eve claims many restaurateurs have not yet appealed their business rates, which may be reduced if changes to their property or its locality have occurred over the last five years.