Deadline looming for rates refunds

HARD WORKERS Birstall CoT members, including Anne Thompson.
HARD WORKERS Birstall CoT members, including Anne Thompson.

Failure to apply for refunds on overpaid business rates could mean companies across Kirklees lose out on millions of pounds.

According to experts CVS, in the 2014 Autumn Statement chancellor George Osborne changed the rule so that appeals made after March 31 this year will only be eligible for savings from April 2015-17.

However, those who lodge successfully before then may be entitled to backdated payment from April 2010. The change is tucked away on page 78 of the document.

Chairwoman of Birstall’s Chamber of Trade Anne Thompson said: “This is news to me. There’s generally this lack of information that’s out there and I can understand why they don’t want to over-publicise these sorts of things.

“You’ve got businesses which could be in for a little bit of a windfall. It could be useful information for some of our members with larger premises.

“I’d urge any business that’s considering an appeal to lodge it pretty quickly.”

CVS estimates that 82 per cent of rateable properties in Kirklees are yet to appeal, meaning that a potential £38m in refunds could go begging.

Rebates would only be £12m if successful appeals were made after the deadline.

So appealing after March 31 means that overpayments worth about £25m could stay with Revenue and Customs, because businesses will only be entitled to savings on the final two years of the current Ratings List – previously extended from five to seven years by the government.