Ruth Mitchell

NE firms get rates advice

North East businesses have been given helping hand to combat opportunists who claim they can reduce their rates bills.

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) has put together a new fact sheet giving tips and advice for firms who struggle to come to terms with their calculations.

The VOA is sending new business rates valuations and has urged companies to ensure all their details are correct in order to form next year’s rates bills.

The VOA’s customer services manager, Andy Booth, said: “Businesses have a choice to employ an expert to check the details of the valuation we send them, and see where savings might be made.

“There are many agents who offer value for money. Others, however, don’t, and we’re often made aware of ratepayers paying for a service that offers them absolutely no benefit.”

The VOAhas teamed up with the professional bodies that represent rating agents and surveyors, including the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to produce the fact sheet.

It is hoped ratepayers can make a choice when employing a rate agent and avoid using ‘professionals’ who operate under false pretences.

Blake Penfold, Chairman of the RICS’ Business Rates and Local Taxation Policy Panel, said: “Some companies take advantage of business owners who don’t have a solid understanding of how their property is valued or how their bill is calculated.

“Our members can offer this advice and we’re keen to ensure that ratepayers have the information they need to make an informed choice, and not a mistake.”

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