Rating manual - Volume 2 - Section 2 : Proposals to Alter the Rating List

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Updates

Updated October 2009 to encompass the Non-Domestic Rating (Alteration of Lists and Appeals)(England) Regulations 2009 [SI 2009 No. 2268] and The Valuation Tribunal for England (Council Tax and Rating Appeals) (Procedure) Regulations 2009 SI 2009 No. 2269.

Para 3.2(2) amended 11/11/2009

Para 3.0, 3.11, 5.1, 6.2 amended to highlight small but important differences between the Regulations in England and Wales – 02/11/2010

Para 3.3.3 added to highlight importance of distinguishing complied list appeals - code of grounds Reg 4(1)(a) - 27/01/11

Para 3.3.4 added one proposal per event, para 3.5.3 para 3.12 & para 6.1 amended last dates for 2005 appeals - 30/09/2011

Para 7.1 amended to clarify any agreements must be within the scope of proposal

Para 3.14 to 3.17 added to cover transference of instructions and company insolvency

Para 6.12.1 added - invalidity Mayday Optical and Imperial Tobacco 16/11/2015
Para 7 - Leda Properties case added

1. Preliminaries

1.1 Operational procedures regarding proposals

Operational procedures relating to proposals (whether considered to be valid or invalid) are dealt with in NDR Procedures Manual .This section of the RM deals with the legal and technical aspects of proposals with respect to the 2010 Rating List unless specified otherwise.

1.2 Regulations

References to regulations in this section of the RM are to the Non-Domestic Rating (Alteration of Lists and Appeals)(England) Regulations 2009 [SI 2009 No. 2268]

The corresponding regulations applicable to Wales for the 2005 and subsequent rating lists are the Non-Domestic Rating (Alterations of Lists and Appeals) (Wales) Regulations [WSI 2005 No.758 (W.63)]

2. Proposal Forms

2.1 VO proposal forms

Although no statutory proposal form has been prescribed by law, a standard form has been produced by the Valuation Office. This will also serve as a computer input document.

It is preferable that occupiers and owners (or their agents), and BAs, should be encouraged to use the official Valuation Office form whenever they wish to make a proposal.

The standard form for use by persons who wish to make proposals is:-

Form VO7012(2010) in respect of the 2010 rating list.

There is a Welsh counterpart for use by ratepayers and BAs in Wales who ask for a proposal form printed in the Welsh language.

2.2 Agents' proposal forms

Some of the larger firms of rating surveyors and organisations such as the Solicitors Law Stationery Society (Oyez Printing) have devised their own proposal forms based on the VO's versions. Although they may differ in certain ways from the VO forms they should be accepted provided all the information statutorily required is supplied.

2.3 Proposals in the form of a letter

A letter may be accepted as a valid proposal if it fulfils all the statutory requirements and purports to be a proposal. It is important, therefore, that any letter so identified should be processed as a proposal and attached to a blank proposal form. The required coded data should be entered in manuscript in the "Official use only" panel on the blank proposal form.

Any letter which does not meet all the statutory requirements should be returned to the sender. It should be accompanied by a covering letter VO 7043 enclosing a blank proposal form and a set of Guidance Notes on the completion of a "Proposal to Alter the Rating List”. A copy of the ratepayer's letter should be made and retained by the VO. The proposal form should be pre-stamped in the top left-hand corner with the correct VO's address and telephone number.

2.4 Proposals which have a schedule of properties attached

Current provisions generally require a proposal to deal with one hereditament only. The exceptions are where a proposal seeks a split or merger of hereditaments or where the proposal relates to hereditaments within one building or curtilage and the maker of the proposal makes it in the same capacity for each hereditament (e.g. owner) - see Regulation 6(4) and paragraph 3.9 below. These provisions apply equally to e-mail and fax proposals.

Consequently, proposals served on the VO in a 'schedule' format whereby properties are merely listed and rely on shared information such as grounds, proposer's name and similar information are not valid, unless the hereditaments fall within the same building or curtilage.

However, if e-mail proposals are served in schedule formation but on printing each stands on its own and does not share common information, such proposals will not offend and should not be invalidated (unless the proposals are defective in some other way). E-mails containing (or comprising) multiple proposals which do not print out as individual stand alone proposals are not valid.

Invalidity procedures under Regulation 8 should be followed by treating the schedule as an invalid proposal against the first item in the list of properties.

2.5 Petitions

A document in the form of a petition should be carefully examined to decide whether it contains all the necessary information to constitute a valid proposal. Although it is considered unlikely that a petition, signed by a number of signatories, will constitute a valid proposal, nevertheless such a document must not be ignored.

If it is the clear intention of the signatories to such a document to seek a reduction in their individual rating assessments, it will almost invariably be necessary to write to each of them individually, enclosing a set of Guidance Notes on the completion of a "Proposal to Alter the Rating List" and an official proposal form with a request for it to be completed and returned to the VO within any statutory time limit.

2.6 Additional proposal forms

The VO should supply an additional proposal form to any intending proposer who requests one for his/her own retention.

2.7 Proposal forms for occupiers, owners and agents

Occupiers and owners may be provided, free of charge, with a quantity of proposal forms corresponding to the number of hereditaments occupied or owned by the person(s) or business organisation concerned.

Where an agent is duly authorised to act on behalf of a number of individual occupiers or owners, the agent may be supplied free of charge with the number of proposal forms corresponding to the number of clients he/she represents.

2.8 Bulk supplies of proposal forms

A reasonable quantity of proposal forms may be supplied free of charge, on request, to ratepayers associations, chambers of commerce and/or trade, and similar local organisations for use by their own members. Before supplying the forms, however, the VO should arrange to discuss with the Chairman, or another officer of the organisation concerned, the grievance(s) giving rise to the request for the proposal forms and to explain the basis of rating assessments. Such a discussion may prevent the making of misconceived or frivolous proposals. If, following a discussion, the organisation decides that its members still wish to make proposals, the VO should encourage the use of VOA on-line proposal application. If this is not suitable for any reason the VO should supply the necessary number of forms ensuring that each one is stamped with the office address and phone number of the Valuation Officer for the Billing Authority in which the hereditament concerned is situated.

Professional firms, such as surveyors, estate agents and solicitors, should similarly be encouraged to use the VOA website or web-services systems but may be supplied, on request, with no more than 50 blank proposal forms at any one time, free of charge. Where a firm indicate that they are acting for a particular group of occupiers, or for the owner(s) of a number of properties, either in the locality or nationwide, the firm may be supplied, free of charge, with the number of forms corresponding to the number of properties involved. A corresponding number of forms for retention by the firm as their own copies may be supplied, if requested.

In all other cases, the applicant should be asked to write to CEO (Customer Services) where the request will be dealt with on an ad hoc basis.

BAs should be asked to issue blank proposal forms only to individual ratepayers and to forward to the VO any requests they receive for bulk supplies of proposal forms.

2.9 Completion of proposal forms before issue

Before a proposal form is issued to an intending proposer it should be completed in the top left-hand corner with the correct VO's address and telephone number. The VO's address should be inserted by means of a rubber stamp using a black ink pad. A clear legible impression should be made.

Normally, no other entry should be made on the blank proposal form. All the relevant information to be entered on the form is to be inserted only by the maker of the proposal. All the information which the proposer supplies constitutes part of the proposal itself.

If exceptionally, the VO wishes to make any notes on the proposal form before it is issued, eg. the assessment number, these should be made only in the column headed "Official use only".

2.10 Guidance Notes on the completion of proposals

Guidance Notes in leaflet form [VO 7012GN(2010)] have been produced to assist makers of proposals to fill in the form correctly. A leaflet should be issued with the proposal form. The guidance notes are also available to download and print from the website in both English and Welsh.

3. Right to make a Proposal

3.1 General

England

The right to make a proposal is governed by the Non-Domestic Rating (Alteration of Lists and Appeals) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009 No 2268). Regulation 4 sets out the circumstances in which proposals may be made in respect of the 2005 lists and subsequent lists. Regulation 6 sets out the manner of making proposals and information to be included. Regulation 5 sets out the periods in which proposals may be made in respect of the 2005 and subsequent lists.

Wales

The right to make a proposal is governed by The Non-Domestic Rating (Alteration of Lists and Appeals) (Wales) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005 No 758 (W.63). Regulation 4 sets out the circumstances in which proposals may be made in respect of the 2005 lists and subsequent lists. Regulation 6 sets out the manner of making proposals and information to be included. Regulation 5 sets out the periods in which proposals may be made in respect of the 2005 and subsequent lists.

3.2 Who may make proposals

3.2 (1) An Interested Person, a Relevant Authority or in specific circumstances described in para 3.6 below a former Interested Person may make a proposal to alter the rating list in appropriate circumstances. These terms are defined in Regulation 2 (1) in both The English and Welsh Appeal Regulations as follows:

"interested person" means:-

(a) in relation to a hereditament which forms part of the Crown Estate and is held by the Crown Estate Commissioners under their management within the meaning of section 1 of the Crown Estate Act 1961(b), means the Crown Estate Commissioners;

(b) in relation to any other hereditament,

(i) the occupier;

(ii) any other person (other than a mortgagee not in possession) having in any part of the hereditament either a legal estate, or an equitable interest such as would entitle him (after cessation of any prior interest) to possession of the hereditament or any part of it; and

(iii) any person having a qualifying connection with the occupier or a person described in (ii).

“Qualifying connection” is defined in Reg 2 (2). A qualifying connection will exist where both persons are companies and either one is a subsidiary of the other or both are subsidiaries of the same company; or where only one person is a company, the other person has such an interest in the company as would result in its being, (if the person was a company), a holding company of the other.

The case of Mainstream Ventures Limited v Woolway (VO) [2000] RA 395 confirmed that "an interested person" has to be an interested person at the time the proposal is made. In this case at the time the proposal was made the maker of the proposal was no longer the occupier of the hereditament to which the proposal referred.

There is a third category of persons who can make proposals (see paragraph 3.6 below) where a proposal is made challenging a VO's list alteration on the grounds that the VO has chosen the wrong RV or effective date. By Regulation 4(2)(c), a proposal may be made by someone who was an interested person during the period for which the list alteration had effect.

"relevant authority", in relation to a hereditament, means the authority in whose area the hereditament is situated.

"National Assembly" means the National Assembly for Wales

3.2 (2) Proposals against the compiled list entry where a reconstitution has occurred 

An interested person can only make a valid proposal when they still have some interest in the hereditament referred to in the proposal. If a compiled list assessment is altered by a subsequent split or merger, the original compiled list hereditament no longer exists and therefore cannot be appealed against, a proposal against the compiled list entry will be invalid.

One situation where an interested person could lodge a valid proposal against a now deleted compiled list entry would be in the case of a former composite property which has become solely domestic and therefore had the Non Domestic Rating list entry deleted, the original occupier of the property could make a proposal against the now deleted compiled list entry during the life of the list provided they had remained in occupation of the property.

Similarly, where the VO has altered the historic entry(ies) from which the reconstituted entries were derived, perhaps to correct the compiled list entry or to reflect a pre-reconstitution MCC, a person who was an interested person during the period affected by the VO alteration may make a valid proposal.

It is important to identify the hereditament when considering validity. If an assessment has changed because of, for example, a temporary reduction for road works, the hereditament hasn't changed. Provided the Proposer is an interested person on the day the proposal is made, they could still make a valid compiled list proposal.

3.3 Grounds on which Interested Persons may make proposals

3.3.1 An interested person (defined above at paragraph 3.2) may make a proposal to alter the rating list in respect of a hereditament, subject to prescribed time limits, on the grounds set out in Regulation 4(1). These are:-

a. Compiled list - the rateable value shown in the list for a hereditament was inaccurate on the day the list was compiled.

b. Material change of circumstances - the rateable value shown in the list for a hereditament is inaccurate by reason of a material change of circumstances which occurred on or after the day the list was compiled.

See paragraph 3.7 below for an explanation of "material change of circumstances".

c. Combined heat and power plant - the rateable value shown in the list for a hereditament is inaccurate by reason of an amendment to the classes of plant and machinery set out in the Schedule to the Valuation for Rating (Plant and Machinery) (England) Regulations 2000 (b) which comes into force on or after the day on which the list was compiled. This does not permit a proposal to be made by an Interested Person because an item of plant on the hereditament has been granted a Secretary of State Certificate as an excepted item since this is not due to a change in the classes of plant and machinery in the Schedule. Obtaining such a certificate is also not a Material Change of Circumstances and therefore no right of proposal exists. Where a Certificate has been granted after compilation of the list it will be necessary for the VO to take action to correct the list entry as appropriate.

d. Inaccurate VO alteration - the rateable value shown in the list for a hereditament by reason of an alteration made by a valuation officer is or has been inaccurate.

However, no proposal under this provision may be made where the list alteration is giving effect to the decision of a valuation tribunal, the Lands Tribunal or a court determining an appeal or application for a review from either tribunal (Reg 4(3)(c) refers).

It should be noted that under this provision a proposal may be made in respect of an alteration which gives effect to a well-founded proposal or an agreement. There will not be many occasions where an agent or ratepayer who has just agreed an alteration of the list with the VO may wish to challenge it, but where this does happen it is likely to be difficult for the maker of the proposal to show reason why the previous list alteration is incorrect.

e. Tribunal decision - the rateable value or any other information shown in the list for a hereditament is shown, by reason of a decision in relation to another hereditament of a valuation tribunal, the VTE, the Lands Tribunal, the Upper Tribunal or a court determining an appeal or application for review from either such tribunal, to be or to have been inaccurate.

It should be noted that a Lands Tribunal decision is incomplete until all issues including costs have been determined. Sometimes an interim decision is given which deals with the substantive issues of an appeal but the decision on costs is reserved. Such a tribunal decision is not one that can be used as grounds for serving a proposal under Regulation 4(1)(e). Proposals may only be made citing a tribunal decision once the decision becomes final.

Where a proposal is made prior to the Lands Tribunal's final decision, the VO should treat the proposal as invalid and issue a VO 7048 stating the following reason for invalidity;

The proposal is not valid because "the Lands Tribunal has not issued its final decision, this proposal should be re-served once the decision becomes final."

See paragraph 6 below regarding validity of proposals.

A Regulation 4(1)(e) proposal is the only kind of proposal which can be made where there has been a previous tribunal decision in relation to another hereditament and arising from the same facts (unless the valuation tribunal dismissed the appeal because every party other than the VO failed to appear).

f. Inaccurate effective day in VO alteration - the day from which an alteration is shown in the list as having effect is wrong.

g. Insertion of entry into list - a hereditament not shown in the list ought to be shown in that list.

h. Deletion of entry from list - a hereditament shown in the list ought not to be shown in that list.

i. Partially domestic or exempt - the list should show that some part of a hereditament which is shown in the list is domestic property or is exempt but does not do so.

j. Not partially domestic or exempt - the list should not show that some part of a hereditament which is shown in the list is domestic property or is exempt but does so.

k. Merger or reconstitution of hereditaments - property which is shown in the list as more than one hereditament ought to be shown as one or more different hereditaments.

l. Division of assessment - property which is shown in the list as one hereditament ought to be shown more than one hereditament.

m. Inaccurate address - the address shown in the list for a hereditament is wrong.

n. Inaccurate description - the description shown in the list for a hereditament is wrong; and

o. Omission of requirements of s42 (contents of local lists) - any statement required to be made about the hereditament under section 42 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 has been omitted from the list.

3.3.2 Regulation 6(5) provides that where a proposal is made contending that either the RV or the effective date is incorrect by reason of an alteration made by the valuation officer, the proposer may request either or both of the following -

a) the restoration of the list to its state before the alteration was made; and

b) a further alteration of the list in respect of that hereditament.

This is particularly useful where it is contended that the effective date should be later than that adopted by the VO. If this is the agreed outcome of the proposal then in order to give effect to the agreement the VO will not only have to bring the effective date forward to a later date on the appeal, but will also as a separate step have to restore the entry in the list to what it was at the earlier (but incorrect) effective date. Otherwise, the list entry will remain from that date as a live entry up until the agreed later effective date.

3.3.3 Compiled List Proposals

Regulation 4(1) of the Non-Domestic Rating (Alterations of Lists and Appeals) (England) Regulations 2009 and Regulation 4(1) of the Non-Domestic Rating (Alterations of Lists and Appeals) (Wales) Regulations 2005 provide the 15 grounds, (a) – (o), on which it is possible to make a valid proposal.

A "compiled list proposal" [RSA code of grounds "01"] is one made on ground 4(1)(a):"the rateable value shown in the list for a hereditament was inaccurate on the day the list was compiled;"

The important thing to note from this is that the rateable value being appealed is that which appeared in the list ON 1 April 2010 (or 1 April 2005 for the previous list). It does NOT refer to any rateable value subsequently entered into the list, regardless of the effective date appearing in the list. For example: an assessment which was created by a VON on 1 June 2010 but with an effective date of 1 April 2010 is not the compiled list entry and must not be linked to an "01" proposal.

The Non-Domestic Rating (Material Day for List Alterations) Regulations 1992 prescribe that:

Reg 3(2) Where the determination is with a view to making an alteration to correct an inaccuracy in the list on the day on which it was compiled, the material day is the day on which the list was compiled.

Reg 3(7) In any other case,

(a) where the determination is with a view to making an alteration to a list compiled before 1st April 2005, the material day is the day on which the proposal for the alteration in respect of which a determination falls to be made is served on the valuation officer or, where there is no such proposal, the day on which the valuation officer alters the list; and

(b) where the determination is with a view to making an alteration to a list compiled on or after 1st April 2005, the material day is—

(i) where the alteration is made in pursuance of a proposal, the day on which the proposal was served on the valuation officer;

(ii) where the alteration is not made in pursuance of a proposal—

(aa) if the day on which the circumstances giving rise to the alteration is reasonably ascertainable, the day on which the circumstances giving rise to the alteration occurred.;

(bb) if that day is not reasonably ascertainable, the day on which the valuation officer alters the list.

There is a clear distinction between the material day for a proposal made against the compiled list, (Reg 3(2) above), and one made on the grounds of a post-compilation MCC, (Reg 3(7) above).

By definition a post-compilation MCC has not occurred when the list is compiled and cannot be reflected in the rateable value to be determined.

There have been a number of instances where cases have been incorrectly linked at first registration or where caseworkers have re-linked compiled list proposals to post-compilation altered assessments in order to achieve an agreement in respect of the current list entry. Whilst this practice may be convenient for the purposes of settling appeals, it is incorrect and must cease immediately.

MCC Proposals

A proposal made on the grounds of a MCC is allowed by Reg 4(1)(b):

"(b) the rateable value shown in the list for a hereditament is inaccurate by reason of a material change of circumstances which occurred on or after the day on which the list was compiled;"

The distinction between this and the grounds under Reg 4(1)(a) is that this refers only to "the rateable value shown in the list for..." and makes no limitation as to when the value became shown in the list. Therefore, it is possible to re-link such a proposal to the assessment applying at the pertinent date.

Prior to 1 April 2002 a proposal made on the grounds in Reg 4(1)(d) against a VO alteration of the list had to be made within 6 months of the date of alteration. Once this period had expired there was no continuing right to appeal the altered assessment.

The time limits are extended now by Reg 5 (2) (a) which allow a proposal on the ground set out in regulation 4(1)(d) or (f) to be made before the day on which the next list is compiled or within six months of the date of the alteration, whichever is the later.

Caseworkers must decline any request to re-link compiled list proposals under these circumstances or for MCC proposals where the material day is earlier than the effective date of the altered assessment.

3.3.4 The "one bite at the cherry" rule

The regulations only permit an interested person to make a single proposal in respect of each event, defined as the compilation of the list, a material change of circumstances or an alteration of the list by the valuation officer [regulation 4(3)(b)(i)].

This is what is commonly referred to as the “one bite at the cherry” rule and for example prevents an interested person from making repeated proposals to alter the compiled list by instructing new agents even though a previous proposal has been agreed or withdrawn. A second proposal on the same grounds made by or on behalf of the same interested person is invalid.

The restriction only relates to a given interested person, so that where the occupier has changed the new occupier is able to make a fresh proposal. Similarly, both the owner and occupier of a property may each make a valid proposal.

A further proposal may not be made for the same hereditament arising from the same facts where the original proposal has been considered and determined by the Valuation Tribunal or the Upper Tribunal.

3.4 Grounds on which Billing Authorities (BAs) may make proposals

A BA is a relevant authority in relation to a hereditament if the hereditament is situated within that authority's area - Reg 2(1) refers.

A BA has the right to make a proposal to alter the rating list for any hereditament of which it is an "interested person" - see paragraph 3.2 above – and has the same rights as any other occupier or owner.

The only other circumstances in which a BA may make a proposal are those contained within Regulation 4(2)(b). These are where the BA has reason to believe that the list is inaccurate because of

  • a material change of circumstances which occurred on or after the day the list was compiled;
  • the RV or any other information shown in the list for a hereditament is shown, by reason of a decision in relation to another hereditament of a valuation tribunal, the Lands Tribunal or a court determining an appeal or application for review from either such tribunal;
  • a hereditament not shown in the list ought to be shown in that list;
  • a hereditament shown in the list ought not to be shown in that list;
  • the list should show that some part of a hereditament which is shown in the list is domestic property or is exempt but does not do so;
  • the list should not show that some part of a hereditament which is shown in the list is domestic property or is exempt but does so.

However, Regulation 4(3)(b)(ii) does not allow a proposal to be made (other than following a tribunal decision in relation to another hereditament), where a proposal to alter the same list in relation to the same hereditament and arising from the same facts has already been considered and determined by a valuation tribunal (other than where the valuation tribunal dismissed the appeal because every party other than the VO failed to appear) or the Lands Tribunal.

3.5 Periods in which proposals may be made
3.5.1 1995 list

Reference to regulations in this section and section 3.5.2 below are to the Non-Domestic Rating (Alteration of Lists and Appeals) Regulations 1993 (SI 1993 No. 291) as amended unless otherwise stated.

After 1 April 2001 there are only very limited circumstances in which a valid 1995 list proposal may be made.

A proposal made challenging the RV shown in the list following a VO alteration may be made up to 1 year after the list alteration or before the first anniversary of the compilation of the next list, whichever is the earlier. So, for example, an alteration made on 28 March 2002 giving effect to an agreed amendment on a 1995 list proposal could result in a valid 1995 list proposal up to 27 March 2003. (Reg 4B(2)). However, where this does happen it is likely to be difficult for the maker of the new proposal to show reason why the previous list alteration is incorrect.

A proposal made on any grounds set out in Reg 4A(1) (e) to (n) made to correct an inaccuracy which arose in the course of making a previous alteration may be made up to one year after the list alteration or before the first anniversary of the compilation of the next list, whichever is the later– see Reg 4B(4).

Since 1 September 2003 the Non-Domestic Rating (Alteration of Lists and Appeals) Regulations 1993 SI No 291 have been amended to allow a valid proposal to be made under the following circumstances [Reg 4B(4A)]:-

The proposal seeks to alter a list for 31 March 2000 to show in, or delete from, a list a hereditament that has come into existence due to a split, merger or reconstitution.

  • The actual day the hereditament came into existence was on or after 1 April 1995.
  • The proposal must be made before 1st April 2005.
  • The effective date of the alteration is limited to 31 March 2000, regardless of the actual date of the creation of the new hereditament [Reg 13(2A)(b)].

Further provisions were made with effect from 1 September 2003 for the VO to correct the list for 31 March 2000 where the VO has altered the RV shown for 1 April 2000 and following this alteration comes to the view that the RV shown for 31 March 2000 is inaccurate and should be reduced. It should be noted that this power rests only with the VO and no proposal can be made seeking such a reduction. Further, when the VO does make such an alteration it does not give rise to a right to make a proposal under regulation 4A(1)(c) challenging the rateable value.

The Valuation Tribunal for England (Council Tax and Rating Appeals) (Procedure) Regulations 2009 will apply to any 1995 list appeals under Reg 17A(2) the Non-Domestic Rating (Alteration of Lists and Appeals) England Regulations 2005 SI 2005 No. 659 which remain outstanding as at 1 October 2009.

These appeals seek the alteration of the 31 March 2000 list entry following a Valuation Officer Notice that deletes or shows in existence a hereditament as at 1 April 2000 which was served on or before 31 March 2006.

3.5.2 2000 list

The 2000 list is now closed and cannot be altered except to give effect to outstanding proposals or to properly give effect to an agreement from a settled proposal that has been incorrectly actioned or linked.

It should be remembered that alterations to the 2000 list were limited by Regulation 13A of the Alterations of Lists and Appeals Regulations 1993 (SI 1993 No. 291) as amended, which limited reductions to the start of the rate year in which the proposal or notice was received and all increases to the date of alteration of the list, therefore any proposals agreed which increase the 2000 list entry cannot now be given effect to, unless they were settled prior to the last date of the list 31st March 2005 but not properly actioned.

The last date for making an interested party proposal on the 2000 list was, 31st March 2005, or 6months after the date of a Valuation Office Notice, whichever was the latest.

The last date possible for a VO notice for a split, merger or recon; a change to any exemption; or a change to the domestic/non-domestic element of a property was 31st March 2006, and for any other VO alteration the last date was 31st March 2005.

Which effectively means that a 2000 list appeal cannot be made after 1st Oct 2006.

3.5.3 2005 list

The 2005 list is now closed and cannot be altered except to give effect to outstanding proposals or to properly give effect to an agreement from a settled proposal that has been incorrectly actioned or linked.

The last date for making an interested party proposal on the 2005 list was, 31st March 2010, or 6months after the date of a Valuation Office Notice, whichever was the latest.

The last date possible for a VO notice for a split, merger or recon; a change to any exemption; or a change to the domestic/non-domestic element of a property was 1st April 2011, and for any other VO alteration the last date was 31st March 2010.

Which effectively means that a 2005 list appeal cannot be made after 1st Oct 2011.

3.5.4 2010 and subsequent lists

The period in which 2010 list proposals may be made is governed by Reg 5: of SI 2009 No 2268[England] and Reg 5: of SI 2005 No 758 [|Wales] (W.63)

(1) Subject to paragraph (2) below, a proposal to alter a list compiled on or after 1 April 2005 may be made at any time before the day on which the next list is compiled.

(2) A proposal on the ground set out in

(a) regulation 4(1)(d) or (f) [RV or effective date of an alteration is incorrect – see paragraph 3.3.1 above] may only be made before the day on which the next list is compiled or within six months of the date of the alteration, whichever is the later;

(b) regulation 4(1)(e) [VT/LT or higher court decision affects value] may be made no later than 6 months after the day on which the next list is compiled.

3.6 Grounds on which a former Interested Person may make a proposal

Regulation 4(2)(c) provides a limited number of circumstances in which a person who is not currently an interested person may make a proposal. Where he has reason to believe that-

  • the RV shown in a list is inaccurate by reason of an amendment to the classes of P&M set out in the Schedule to the Valuation for Rating (Plant and Machinery)(England) Regulations 2000 (b) which comes into force on or after the day on which the list was compiled (the combined heat and power exception provisions), but see paragraph 3.3.1 c. above; or
  • the RV shown in a list by reason of an alteration made by a VO is or has been inaccurate; or
  • the day from which an alteration is shown in the list as having effect is wrong

he may make a proposal if he was an interested person at any time during which the alteration in question had effect.

There is however,

  • no right to make a proposal challenging the RV shown in a VO list alteration under Reg 4(1)(d) where the alteration in question gives effect to a decision of a valuation tribunal, the Lands Tribunal or a court determining an appeal or application for a review from either such tribunal in relation to the hereditament concerned [Reg 4(3)(c)]; and
  • no right to make a proposal [apart from grounds of Reg 4(1)(e)] where a proposal to alter the same list in relation to the same hereditament and arising from the same facts has already been considered and determined by a valuation tribunal [other than where the valuation tribunal dismissed the appeal because every party other than the VO failed to appear under Reg 30(4)] or by the Lands Tribunal [Reg 4(3)(b)(ii)]. Reg 4(1)(e) requires that the list entry be shown to be inaccurate by reason of a decision in relation to another hereditament.
3.7 Material Change of Circumstances

3.7.1 Regulation 4(1)(b) allows a proposal to be made to reflect a material change of circumstance - see paragraph 3.3 above.

3.7.2 The term is defined in Regulation 3 as follows:-

"material change of circumstances", in relation to a hereditament, means a change in any of the matters mentioned in paragraph 2(7) of Schedule 6 to the Act".

The Act is the Local Government Finance Act 1988.

3.7.3 The matters referred to above are defined in the 1988 Act as follows:-

(a) matters affecting the physical state or physical enjoyment of the hereditament;

(b) the mode or category of occupation of the hereditament;

(c) the quantity of minerals or other substances in or extracted from the hereditament;

(cc) the quantity of refuse or waste material which is brought onto and permanently deposited on the hereditament;

(d) matters affecting the physical state of the locality in which the hereditament is situated or which, though not affecting the physical state of the locality, are none the less physically manifest there; and

(e) the use or occupation of other premises situated in the locality of the hereditament.

3.8 Service of notices
3.8.1 General

Regulation 22 deals with the service of notices. This includes service of proposals on the VO and also service of notices by the VO.

3.8.2 Service of proposals on the VO

When completed, a proposal is to be served on the VO for the billing authority area in which the hereditament concerned is situated. Service is effected by delivering it by hand or sending it to the VO's office either by post or by fax or e-mail. If either fax or e-mail is used it must be sent to the e-mail address or fax number given for that purpose by the VO.

Electronic service is only effected when the transmission is capable of producing the text of the notice or proposal.

Where a hereditament straddles two or more BA boundaries, the proposal must be served on the VO who holds the rating list in which the hereditament is shown.

3.8.3 Service of notices by the VO

Where the VO is required to serve notice of a list alteration or a certificate of transitional relief the regulations state that service is to be on the ratepayer, but invalidity notices under Reg 8 are to be served on the “proposer”. Where the proposal is made by an agent the invalidity notice must therefore be served on the agent, who is treated as having the authority of the interested person to accept service of such a notice, having already received authority to make the proposal.

When service has to be made on the ratepayer this may cause difficulty if the ratepayer’s agent wishes to receive the notice or a copy. It is VO policy not to issue a courtesy copy of a VO notice of list alteration under Regulation 17(2) to a retained agent, despite a limited time under Regulation 5 in which proposals may be made challenging a VO’s alteration made within 6 months before the end of a list.

Reg 22(1)(a)(ii) provides that a notice may be served by delivering it to the person on whom it is to be served or to any other person authorised by him to act as his agent for the purpose.

This does not oblige the VO to serve documents on a particular person but where an agent wishes the VO notice to be served on him/ her instead of the ratepayer the VO may exercise discretion and serve on the agent instead (but not in addition to) of the ratepayer. However, before doing so the written authority of the ratepayer must first be obtained. The following form of words to be used has been approved by the HMRC Solicitor and should be used-

"I/we are writing to you to authorise...[agent company name....whose normal office address is......] to act as my/our agent in accordance with Regulation 22(1)(a)(ii) of the Non Domestic Rating (Alteration of Lists and Appeals) (England) [or (Wales)] Regulations 2009 SI 2268 [or WSI 758] to receive any notice required or authorised to be served by the Valuation Officer for the [.....Billing Authority], which would otherwise have been served on me/ us as ratepayer, in respect of [property address as above or properties identified in the attached schedule], for the purposes of the 2005 rating list.

This authorisation will remain in place for the duration of the 2005 rating list until such time as I/we notify you that it no longer applies. In the event that [agent company name] are no longer instructed to act on my/our behalf, or the property(ies) identified in this authorisation is/are no longer occupied or owned by me/us, it shall immediately cease to have effect."

The authorisation must be signed and dated by the ratepayer or company, rather than the agent.

Reg 22(1)(c) provides that a notice may be served by leaving it at or forwarding by post to the usual or last known place of business of the recipient or, in the case of a company, its registered office.

Reg 22(1)(d) provides that service is effected by delivering a notice to some person on the premises to which the notice relates or, if there is no person on the premises to whom it can be delivered, then by fixing it to some conspicuous part of the premises.

Reg 22(1)(e) provides that where a hereditament to which the notice relates is a place of business of the person on whom it is to be served, service is effected by leaving the notice at or forwarding it by post addressed to that person at that place of business.

In the vast majority of instances where it is impossible to serve a notice by post to a hereditament (e.g. an advertising right, a car park or a mast) it is anticipated that the registered office of the occupier will be ascertainable either from information displayed on the hereditament or from the Billing Authority and so service of a notice may be effected by sending to the registered office of the company. Where it is necessary to serve a notice by means of personal service or by attaching it to the premises, the person designated to do so should personally satisfy themselves that the notice specifically relates to the property in question, place the notice in a window envelope (ensuring the name and address of the addressee is clearly visible) and attach it in a prominent position to the premises. After service a copy of the notice should be endorsed with the words “Served by hand on [date to be inserted]” or “Affixed to the premises on [date to be inserted]”. The person who served or affixed the notice should then sign and date the copy and print their name and grade below the signature. This document should be retained in case of dispute over correct service.

3.9 Multiple property proposals

Regulation 6(4) allows that a proposal may deal with more than one hereditament only where:-

(a) the proposal is seeking to merge several hereditaments into a single unit or, to reconstitute several hereditaments to form a different number of separately rateable hereditaments; or

(b) the person making the proposal does so in the same capacity for each hereditament, all of which must be within the same building or, if not in a building are within the same curtilage.

3.10 VO not to alter proposals

Proposal forms, or documents purporting to be proposals, are documents with a legal status. They should not, in any circumstances, be amended or altered by the VO.

3.11 Proposals received "out of time" – 1995, 2000 & 2005 Lists
3.11.1 Valid Proposals cannot now be made against the 1995, 2000 or 2005 Lists

Any 2000 and 2005 list proposal that is treated as invalid on the grounds that the statutory time limit has expired must be registered as invalid on system and the procedures as set down in NDR Procedure Manual 'Invalidity' should be followed.

The statutory time limits for serving proposals related to the 2005 and subsequent lists are set down in Regulation 5 of SI 2009 No 2268 and SI 2005 No 758 [|Wales] (W.63) (see paragraph 3.5.3 above).

3.12 Regulation 8 - 2005 list England

Within 4 weeks of an Invalidity Notice a further proposal may be made provided the original proposal was made before 1 April 2010, in England an invalidity notice may be served with the proposer's consent at any time before the proposal is listed for the appeal hearing.

3.13 Proposals received out of statutory time limit

a) Proposals relating to 1995 lists

Proposals received from 1 April 2001 onwards that relate to the 1995 Lists and are made for any reason other than in response to a VO alteration (see paragraph 3.5.1 above) or made after 1 April 2005 under Regulation 4B(4A) of SI 1993 No. 291 as amended must be treated as Invalid. These do not fulfil the requirements of a valid proposal as they are made outside the limited grounds of appeal in respect of time. Under no circumstances should these proposals be returned to a ratepayer or agent with a note/letter stating that the time limit for appeals against 1995 List assessments has expired. They should be registered as invalid proposals and an invalidity notice issued under the procedure set down in Reg 7 of SI 1993 No. 291 and contained in NDR Procedure Manual 'Invalidity' should be followed.

Any 1995 proposal treated as invalid on grounds that the statutory time limit has expired must be registered as Invalid on system. However, the system produced Notice of Invalid Proposal letter - VO 7048 (1995) is inappropriate for these grounds of appeal and should not be issued. A revised Notice of Invalid Proposal letter - VO 7048 (1995) should be issued instead - see Appendix 2:2:4

b) Proposals relating to 2000 lists

The statutory time limits in which proposals related to the 2000 List must be served are set down in Regulation 4C of SI 1993 No. 291 (see paragraph 3.5.2 above)

c) Proposal relating to 2005 lists

3.14 Transfer of Proposal to Different Representative

As soon as caseworkers become aware that a company has gone into liquidation, been taken over or merged into another company they should inform the Process Policy and Assurance team by email copied to the Customer Services team.

There are a number of situations where it may be suggested to the VO that a proposal originally submitted by a professional representative (PR “A”) should be resolved by discussion with a different professional representative (PR “B”):

a) Where PR “A” has gone into Administration. This can include where a Liquidator or Administrator has been appointed,

b) Where a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) has been entered into so that PR “A” has been wound up and a new company PR”B”, possibly with a similar name, has acquired the business assets.

c) Where PR “B” has acquired the whole business of PR “A” and absorbed it into the existing company of PR “B”. This may be described by both PR companies as a ‘merger’ but is more accurately a takeover.

d) Where PR “A” has ‘merged’ with PR “B” to form a new company PR “C”.

e) Where PR “A” purports to simply transfer the proposal to PR “B” whilst PR “A” remains in existence.

f) Where PR “A” engages PR “B” to deal with the proposal on behalf of PR “A”.

In considering each of the above scenarios it is important to bear in mind the following principles:

1. A proposal can only be made by or on behalf of an Interested Person (IP) and a professional representative has no rights of their own in relation to the proposal.

2. An IP must give consent to the transfer of representation from one PR to another.

3. Where an IP instructs a PR company to make a proposal on its behalf, the instructions form a contract between the IP and the PR company.

4. Where a PR goes into administration, the Administrator stands in the shoes of the company directors and can do anything the directors could have done.

The table below sets out the options for each of the scenarios in a) – e) above:

 

Situation

Discuss with PR “A”?

Discuss with PR “B”?

Discuss with PR “C”?

Contact IP?

a)

Administrator appointed at PR “A”

Yes. The Administrator may continue to run PR “A”

Only with consent of IP.

N/A

If Administrator will not deal with appeal. Send letter VO7271.

b)

CVA entered by PR “A” and new company PR “B” formed

No longer exists

Different company so only with consent of IP. Send letter VO7274 to PR “B”. Continue to discuss appeal but do not process settlement until Authority to Act received.

N/A

If no Authority to Act received send letter VO7272 with Optional para 1.

c)

PR “A” taken over/merged with PR “B”

No longer exists

Different company so only with consent of IP. Send letter VO7273 to PR “B”. Continue to discuss appeal but do not process settlement until Authority to Act received.

N/A

If no Authority to Act received send letter VO7272 with Optional para 2.

d)

PR “A” and PR “B” merge to form new company PR “C”

No longer exists

No longer exists

Different company so only with consent of IP. Send letter VO7273 to PR “C” in respect of clients of both PR “A” and PR “B”. Continue to discuss appeal but do not process settlement until Authority to Act received.

If no Authority to Act received send letter VO7272 with Optional para 3.

e)

PR “B” claims to have taken over instructions from PR “A”

Assume that PR “A” refers contact to PR “B”, so N/A.

Different company so only with consent of IP. Send letter VO7275 to PR “B”. Continue to discuss appeal but do not process settlement until Authority to Act received.

N/A

If no Authority to Act received and PR “A” refuses to act. Contact TA for advice.

f)

PR “B” claims to have been asked to discuss PR “A” appeals on behalf of PR “A”.

Yes, if possible.

Yes. PR “B” must sign any settlement on behalf of PR “A”

N/A

No.

3.15 Appointment of more than one Professional Representative (Agent)

Where an Interested Person (IP) appoints more than one Professional Representative (PR) to make duplicate proposals in respect of a list entry for the same hereditament, the second proposal received will be invalid (see 3.3.4 above). However, because the first proposal ‘belongs’ to the IP and not the PR who submitted it, the VO should establish whether the IP intends the first or second PR to act in respect of the valid proposal. In cases of dispute between the two PR as to who is instructed to act the VO should send VO7276). If the IP confirms that instructions have been transferred to the second PR then the contact details in RSA for the valid proposal should be amended to show the new PR details and case remarks noted. On no account should the second proposal be made valid.

3.16 Professional Representative (Agent) Company Dissolved or ‘Disappears’

Where a Professional Representative (PR) company has been wound up or can no longer be contacted the IP should be sent (either VO7271 or VO7272 as appropriate) to find out whether they wish to deal with the appeal directly or to appoint a different PR.

3.17 Insolvency of Occupier

Where the IP themselves becomes insolvent and enters administration there is no direct action required by the VO in respect of discussion of outstanding proposals/appeals. A PR may continue to represent the IP unless the appointed Administrator removes or transfers instructions, and this applies whether or not the IP continues to occupy the relevant hereditament. Where a new occupier takes occupation of the hereditament they will be a party to the appeal and are a required signatory for any agreement – see RM Vol2 Sec 6 para 6.4

A new occupier includes a company formed under a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) which may give the appearance of being the same occupier (i.e. with the same or similar trading style and product branding) but which exists as a different registered company.

3.18 Requests from Agents

Agents may request the VO to treat as invalid any proposals made on behalf of a particular client by another agent. As a uniform approach, VOs should ask that the client writes to the VO to confirm the instructions. The letter should set out the extent of the instruction

4. Proposal received relating to a property not in the VO's area

4.1 General rule - As a general rule, if the property which is the subject of the proposal is not within the VO's area, it should be returned to the maker with a covering letter VO 7052 (see RM:2:2 Appendix 3) explaining that the proposal has not been properly served, and giving the name and address of the relevant VO to whom it should be sent. First class post should be used.

4.2 Exception to rule - An exception to this general rule will arise when a proposal is served on a VO in respect of a property falling within a Billing Authority area for which that VO is no longer responsible as a result of VOA restructuring or a Local Government Boundary Change.

Ratepayers or their agents will not necessarily be aware at the time of completing and posting a proposal that the responsibility for the particular Billing Authority area to which the proposal relates has been transferred to another VO from the one shown on previous correspondence or in the local telephone directory.

So as not to disadvantage a ratepayer or agent who, in good faith, has served a proposal on whom he/she believed to be the correct VO, the VO receiving the document should indicate the date of its receipt in that office using the official office date stamp. (The VO receiving the document will, in effect, be acting as agent for the correct VO).

The VO concerned should not carry out any test to determine the validity of the proposal.

After date-stamping the proposal, the VO should immediately forward it, by First Class mail, to the VO now having responsibility for the Billing Authority area to which the proposal relates. At the same time, the person who submitted the proposal should be informed in writing of the action taken. The name, address and telephone number of the office to which the proposal has been sent should be quoted so that the person concerned can make further enquiries to the appropriate VO should the need arise. This letter should not include any statement from which the recipient could claim that it has been accepted as a valid proposal. The question of validity is a matter for the correct VO to decide when it is received in his or her office.

The VO receiving the re-directed proposal should adopt as its date of receipt the date it was received by the first VO, as shown by the official date stamp already impressed on the form.

Offices affected by Branch restructuring or a Local Government Boundary Change will need to be particularly vigilant when opening post to watch out for proposals which have been re-directed in accordance with these instructions. VOs concerned will need to ensure that such proposals are registered as having been received on the date they were received by the first VO, and not the date subsequently received by the correct VO. In these circumstances, therefore, the VO now responsible for the Billing Authority area concerned should not impress his or her official office date stamp on the proposal because this may subsequently lead to confusion as to the date of its receipt.

These arrangements should be operated for a period of twelve months, beginning with the day responsibility for the Billing Authority area was transferred to the appropriate VO. After that period has expired, any incorrectly served proposal should be returned to the sender with a covering letter giving the name and address of the VO on whom it should properly be served.

5. Information to be included on a Proposal

5.1 General

It is important to distinguish between information that is statutorily required and other information which, although not statutorily required, nevertheless helps to support the proposal.

For example, the official proposal form asks for the name of the Billing Authority, the Assessment Number and the Rateable Value shown in the List. These are not statutory requirements. Nevertheless, they help to "identify the property to which the proposal relates". The omission of such information will not disqualify a form or a letter from being accepted as a proposal provided the property to which it relates can be identified from the address and, if stated, its description.

Any proposal which fails to meet the statutory requirements in Regulation 6 of SI 2009 No 2268 or SI 2005 No 758 (W.63) for the 2005 and subsequent lists should be treated as invalid.

Important differences between the Regulations: England and Wales

The requirement to state the rent under Regulation 6 (vi) in Wales differs slightly than under Regulation 6 (vii) in England. This is due to an amendment to the English Regulations made by SI 2006 No 2312 which was not adopted by Wales.

This means that in Wales, the rent is not required to be stated for grounds of appeal under Reg 4 (1) j and k;

j. Not partially domestic or exempt - the list should not show that some part of a hereditament which is shown in the list is domestic property or is exempt but does so.

k. Merger or reconstitution of hereditaments - property which is shown in the list as more than one hereditament ought to be shown as one or more different hereditaments

This is in addition to the exceptions in England, namely for those proposals seeking; deletion; an address change; a description change or a proposal that a statement required has been omitted.

A further difference is that in England only, a relevant authority, or a former interested party submitting a proposal under grounds c,d or f, do not have to state the rent in the proposal.

If a proposal contains all the information statutorily required and it is served within the appropriate statutory time limit specified in Regulation 5 it should be accepted as valid.

5.2 Statutory requirements 2005 List

This section should be read in conjunction with section 6 below relating to validity of proposals.

The statutory requirements for a valid 2010 list proposal are set out in Regulation 6 of SI 2009 No 2268, are:-

(i) Name, Address and Capacity of Maker of Proposal [Reg 6(1)(a) and (b)]

These should be clearly stated on the proposal. Note that there is no obligation for the form to be signed. If any of this information is not stated the proposal should be treated as invalid.

(ii) Identify the Property to which the Proposal relates [Reg 6(1)(c)]

The address of the property should be shown in Box 1 on the proposal form. It may also be necessary to have regard to the description in Box 2, especially if there is more than one hereditament at the same address, in order to satisfy the statutory requirement to "identify" the property.

It is emphasised that whilst it should be possible for the VO to positively identify the property to which the proposal is intended to relate with a reasonable degree of certainty, it is not a requirement that the address on the proposal should match exactly with the entry shown in the List. The decision of the Court of Appeal in R v Northamptonshire LVC, ex parte Anglian Water [1991] RA 93 gives some useful guidance.

The following extract from the decision of Nicholls L J at page 101 is useful

"In my view ... the adequacy of identification of the subject hereditament on a proposal, .... falls to be determined according to the ordinary principles of construction: how would the proposal reasonably be understood by those on whom the proposal or a copy is to be served? In answering the question, as with all questions of construction, common sense is to be applied plentifully."

and later in the same paragraph

"The proposal form is itself intended to be adequately definitive of the property affected."

Any special knowledge of the VO was judged to be irrelevant. In Davey (VO) v O'Kelly [1999] RA 245 the members, Mr Clarke and Mr Francis found on page 254

"We hold that the originating proposal in this appeal is to be construed by reference solely to the wording of that document. We cannot look outside the proposal. We cannot have regard to extrinsic material, that is to say any special knowledge or understanding of the valuation officer …. The test is: how would the proposal reasonably be understood by those on whom it was served, disregarding any extrinsic material."

Although O'Kelly was dealing with the scope of proposal (see paragraph 7 below) rather than identification of the hereditament, it is considered that the principle holds good for all aspects of a proposal. Consequently VOs should follow the guidance from the Court of Appeal in Anglian Water and the Lands Tribunal in O'Kelly and must not rely on their special knowledge as VOs or their office records to supply necessary details which the proposal omits. If the VO is not able to identify the property in question or has serious doubts about its identity, the proposal should be treated as invalid.

If in addition to the address the proposal includes the RV and assessment number and there is any discrepancy between these which raises doubt as to the correct identity of the property appealed against, no assumptions should be made. The proposal should be treated as invalid. Discrepancies between address, assessment number and RV are most likely to become apparent at input stage at which point the appropriate action must be taken.

(iii) Identify the manner in which the List is proposed to be altered (Reg 6(1)(d))

The manner in which the proposer intends the List to be altered should be readily apparent from the proposal.

(iv) Other Information (Reg 6(1)(e))

Other information to be provided depends on the grounds on which the proposal is made.

(i) The proposal should include a statement of the grounds for making the proposal and,

(ii) in the case of a proposal made on the grounds set out in Regulation 4(1)(a), (c) or (g) to (o) - see paragraph 3.3 above - the proposal should include a statement of the grounds for making the proposal and a statement of the reasons for believing that those grounds exist;

(iii) in the case of a proposal made on the grounds set out in Regulation 4(1)(b) - (a material change in circumstances) - see paragraph 3.3 above - the proposal should include a statement of the nature of the change in question and of the date on which the proposer believes the change occurred;

(iv) in the case of a proposal made on any of the grounds set out in Regulation 4(1)(d) or (f) - (an inaccurate VO list alteration) see paragraph 3.3 above - the proposal should include a statement identifying the alteration in question, whether by reference to the day on which the alteration was made or otherwise;

(v) in the case of a proposal made on the grounds set out in Regulation 4(1)(e) - (a tribunal decision relating to a different hereditament) see paragraph 3.3 above - the proposal should include the following information:

a) the identity of the hereditament to which the decision relates;

b) the name of the tribunal or court which made the decision;

c) the date of the decision;

d) the reasons for believing that the decision is relevant to the RV or other information to which the proposal relates; and

e) the reasons for believing, in light of the decision, that the RV or other information to which the proposal relates is inaccurate.

(vi) in the case of a proposal made on the grounds set out in Regulation 4(1)(f) - (incorrect effective date) see paragraph 3.3 above - the proposal should include a statement of the day proposed in place of the day shown in the list.

(vii) In the case of a proposal made on the grounds set out in Regulation 4(1)(a) to (g) and (i) to (l), the proposal should include information on the amount payable each year, as at the date of the proposal, in respect of the lease, easement or licence to occupy as required under Regulation 6(3) except when the proposal is made by a relevant authority or by a person who was an interested party at the time of a previous amendment or alteration and has reason to believe that a ground set out in paragraph (1) (c), (d) or (f) exists [an inaccurate VO list alteration or amendment to the Rating (Plant and Machinery) (England) Regulations 2000 (b)]

5.3 Occupier's name and address

The official proposal form asks for the name and address of the occupier (if different from the property address). This request in itself is NOT a statutory requirement. Nevertheless, it is designed to assist the VO to fulfil the statutory requirement to serve a copy of the proposal on the ratepayer where the proposal has been made by someone other than the ratepayer (Reg 9(1)(a) refers). In most cases, the omission of this information can be remedied by serving a copy of the proposal on "The Occupier" at the property. Where, however, it is obvious that the occupier's address cannot be that of the hereditament, and the proposal has been made by another person (an "interested person"), the proposal should first be formally registered. The VO should then ask the proposer to provide the name and address of the occupier as soon as possible to enable a copy of the proposal to be served on that person.

6. Validity of proposal

6.1 Introduction

This section should be read in conjunction with section 5.2 above dealing with statutory requirements for information to be included in proposals.

For the 2005 List and subsequent lists Regulations 5 allows a proposal to alter a list compiled on or after 1 April 2005 to be made at any time before the day on which the next list is compiled, so before 1 April 2010 for 2005 list proposals.

In addition a proposal on the grounds set out in Regulation 4(1)(d) or (f) [an inaccurate VO list alteration] may be made before the day the next list is compiled or within six months of the date of the alteration, whichever is the later; therefore the latest possible date will be 1 October 2011 for a VO notice served on 1 April 2011.

In respect of Regulation 4(1)(e) [a tribunal decision relating to a different hereditament] these proposals may not be made later than 30 September 2010.

6.2 Legal procedure

Treatment of proposals which the VO regards as invalid is set down in Regulation 8. In such cases an "invalidity notice" must be served on the maker of the proposal - form VO 7048.

A decision on whether or not to serve an invalidity notice on the proposer should be made within 4 weeks of the VO’s receipt of the proposal. An invalidity notice must state the reasons why the VO considers the proposal to be invalid and must advise as to the effect of Regulations 8(6) to 8(9) - see below.

Invalidity after expiry of 4weeks; a distinction between England and Wales

If the VO becomes aware that a proposal is in some way defective and therefore invalid after the expiry of 4 weeks, in England it is still possible to serve an invalidity notice, with the consent in writing of the proposer, then provided the original was not invalid because it was made out of time or because it was a duplicated proposal [one bite of the cherry rule] this will allow the opportunity to correct any defect in the proposal. This is not provided for in the Welsh regulations and validity would have to be argued before the Valuation Tribunal if not accepted as invalid by the proposer and withdrawn.

For the procedure to be adopted when the VO is of opinion a proposal is invalid, see NDR Procedures Manual – noting the above distinction between England and Wales.

6.3 Reasons for invalidity

A proposal will normally be classified as invalid where:-

(a) it is made by a person who is not entitled to make the proposal in question (ie. he/she is not an "interested person" as defined in the regulations) - see paragraph 3.2 above; or

(b) it is served on the VO after the statutory time limit has expired, if any such time limit is specified in the regulations (see paragraph 3.5 above); or

(c) the proposal does not contain all the information statutorily required (see paragraph 5.2 above).

(d) lack of a causal link in proposals made citing a tribunal decision (see paragraph 6.13 below).

(e) it duplicates the grounds of a previously validly made proposal lodged by or on behalf of the same interested party with the same effective date.

6.4 Withdrawal of invalidity notice by VO

Where a VO has served an invalidity notice in accordance with Regulation 8(1) he may at any time withdraw it by serving notice in writing on the proposer. If the proposer has already lodged an appeal against the invalidity notice (see below) the appeal is automatically treated as having been withdrawn.

6.5 Responses to invalidity notice

Within 4 weeks of service of the VO's invalidity notice (unless the VO withdraws it) the proposer may serve on the VO either

a) a further proposal in relation to the same hereditament to replace the initial, invalid proposal. If between serving the invalid proposal and serving the further proposal any period in which a valid proposal was to be served under Regulation 5 has expired, the further proposal will be regarded as having been made within the allowed time period - Regulation 8(6)(a).

Or,

b) if the maker of the proposal disagreed with the VO as to the invalidity of the proposal, appeal against the invalidity notice to the relevant valuation tribunal by serving a notice of disagreement with the VO's notice of invalidity - form VO 7044.

It should be noted, however, that if the initial (invalid) proposal is already out of time no further proposal as described above may be made. Similarly, if the further proposal made under Regulation 8(6)(a) is itself invalid then the proposer may not make a new proposal in response to the VO's notice of invalidity - Regulation 8(7)(b) refers. There is only one opportunity to make a new proposal.

Additionally, it should be noted that service of a further proposal under Reg 8(6)(a) does not affect the material day of the proposal. Both material day and effective date fall to be determined by reference to the date of service of the substitute proposal.

6.6 Service of a further proposal

If a proposer opts to serve a further proposal under Regulation 8(6)(a), the original proposal (which the VO regarded as being invalid) is treated as having been withdrawn - Regulation 8(8).

The further proposal must be received by the VO within four weeks (28 calendar days) of the date of service of the invalidity notice. The date of service of that notice is to be assumed to be the fourth working day after posting where second class mail is used. "Working days" are Monday to Friday, excluding any Bank Holidays. Saturday does not count as a working day.

If a fresh proposal is served on the VO after the four weeks' time limit has expired it will be treated as unrelated to the earlier invalid proposal and will not benefit from the provisions of Reg 8(6)(a) mentioned in paragraph 6.5(a) above. If it is suggested that the date of service of the VO’s Notice of Invalidity was actually later than that calculated by the VO and that as a consequence, the fresh proposal served on the VO is in fact within the 28 day time limit, details should be submitted to CEO via the Technical Adviser.

6.7 Notice of Disagreement

Where the maker of the invalid proposal decides to appeal against the VO's decision the "Notice of Disagreement", VO 7044 or equivalent, must be served on the VO within four weeks (28 calendar days) of the date of service of the VO's invalidity notice. (The date of service of that notice is assumed to be the fourth working day after posting).

Where, within four weeks of the service of a Regulation 8(1) invalidity notice, a "Notice of Disagreement" (VO 7044) is received by the VO appealing against the invalidity notice and, having re-examined the facts, the VO then decides to treat the original proposal as validly made, a letter (VO 7313) to this effect should be sent to the maker of the invalid proposal withdrawing the Invalidity Notice.

6.8 Transmission to Clerk to VT

Unless the VO withdraws the Regulation 8(1) notice within four weeks of service of the notice of disagreement, he or she must transmit to the Clerk to the VT notification of:-

a) the entry in the list (if any) which it is proposed to alter,

b) the grounds on which the proposal was made, and

c) the reasons for his opinion that the proposal has not been validly made.

6.9 Proposal subsequently regarded by VO as valid

Where a Notice of Disagreement has been transmitted as an appeal to the VT, Regulation 8(5) provides that the VO may still withdraw the invalidity notice if a re-examination of the facts results in a revision of the opinion that the proposal was invalid and should after all be treated as a valid proposal. In such circumstances a letter (VO 7313) to this effect should be sent to the maker of the invalid proposal withdrawing the Invalidity Notice.

The Clerk to the VT must also be notified of the withdrawal of the Invalidity Notice as required by Reg 8 (11).

6.10 Suspension of operation of Regulations 9-13

Once the VO has served a notice of invalidity under Regulation 8(1), until the invalidity issue is finally decided, Regulations 9-13 (service of copy proposals, withdrawal, settlement or reference to the VT) do not apply – Reg 8(14).

If it is finally decided that the proposal is valid, Regulations 9-13 will apply as if the proposal had been served on the VO on the date of that final decision. For this purpose the date of the final decision under Regulation 8(15) is -

(a) the date the Invalidity Notice is withdrawn; or

(b) the VT having determined the appeal, the date on which the period for appeal from the VT to the Lands Tribunal expires (28 days) if no such appeal is made; or

(c) the date the Lands Tribunal determines the appeal.

6.11 Validity as an issue at VT

Regulation 8(16) provides that nothing done under Regulation 8 shall prevent any party to an appeal to the VT under Regulation 13 contending that the proposal to which that appeal relates is invalid. It will sometimes be the case that a proposal was not identified as being invalid when served on the VO and as a consequence, no invalidity notice has been served. This does not preclude the VO raising the question of validity after the four week period in which an invalidity notice should have been served – see paragraph 6.12 below.

If the VO becomes aware of a proposal, the validity of which is questionable but no notice under Regulation 8(1) has been served before listing of the appeal by the valuation tribunal, both the ratepayer or agent and the valuation tribunal should be advised that it is intended to raise validity as an issue at valuation tribunal. Invalidity should then be taken as a preliminary issue at tribunal.

If the tribunal do not uphold the VO's contention as to invalidity then under Regulation 33 of The Valuation Tribunal for England (Council Tax and Rating Appeals) (Procedure) Regulations 2009 SI 2009 No. 2269 the tribunal may not immediately go on to hear and determine the substantive appeal unless all parties agree.

Under normal circumstances the VO should decline such consent.

In summary, where proposals exist which in the view of the VO are invalid, whether or not the Regulation 8 procedure has been triggered, the validity issue should be argued at VT. This will either be in accordance with Regulation 8 or, if Regulation 8 has not been used, by arguing invalidity as a preliminary issue under Regulation 33 of SI 2009 No. 2269.

6.12 Late identification of invalidity by the VO

The need to identify invalid proposals at an early date and then to apply the Regulation 8 procedures cannot be over stated. However, there are some circumstances where invalidity is not apparent purely from the information included in the proposal. In such cases invalidity has of necessity to be raised at a later date. The revised procedures introduced for 2005 and subsequent rating lists permit service of notice of invalidity outside the initial 4- week period from receipt with the written consent of the proposer. Guidance on the approach is provided in the NDR Procedures Manual IPP Registration Procedures. Once an appeal has been listed for a hearing of the valuation tribunal, it is not possible to serve an invalidity notice, but it is still possible to raise the invalidity issue as a preliminary matter at the hearing.

The case of Mainstream Ventures Limited v Woolway (VO) [2000] RA 395 identified two different situations in this context. These are

(a) where a VO has not served an invalidity notice because there is no reason to suppose that the proposal is invalid since it appears to satisfy all the statutory requirements for a valid proposal (see paragraph 5.2 above) but new information is later discovered suggesting that the proposal is invalid

(b) where, on a proper consideration of the proposal, it does not satisfy all the statutory requirements for a valid proposal (see paragraph 5.2 above) but it has not been identified as such and therefore the Regulation 8 procedure has not been adopted. Nor has validity been raised at a valuation tribunal hearing.

In case (a) the President of the Lands Tribunal considered that the validity question can properly be argued at a substantive hearing. In case (b), whilst the president considered that a VO could raise the validity issue before the Lands Tribunal he did observe that

"Unless a valuation officer follows the invalidity notice procedure he may be at risk of a finding that the appeal has proceeded on the basis of a common assumption that the proposal is valid and that it would be unconscionable for him to argue at this particular stage that it is invalid. I do not think, however, that an estoppel can arise where, as here, the invalidity consists of the absence of any power on the part of the proposer to make a proposal".

In the Mainstream Ventures case the maker of the proposal did not satisfy the requirement of being an interested person (see paragraph 3.2 above) and so, notwithstanding the VO's failure to raise validity at an earlier date or to raise it in valuation tribunal, the Lands Tribunal found in favour of the valuation officer's contention of invalidity, the president saying

"The provision as to who may make a proposal, creating as it does substantive statutory rights and duties, is not in my judgment capable of being overridden by the conduct of those who may have an interest in the proceedings that have been set in train by a proposal."

The implication is that where the maker of the proposal has the power to make it (ie. he is an interested person), the proposal on the face of it does not satisfy the statutory requirements for a valid proposal but the valuation officer has failed to recognise this and raise it as an issue until the substantive Lands Tribunal hearing, there is a likelihood that the invalidity argument will not be upheld.

In a similar case, albeit under the Council Tax legislation, the High Court determined that where a proposal had been made outside the time limit specified in the regulations, even though invalidity had not been argued by the Listing Officer at valuation tribunal, the High Court had no jurisdiction to hear an appeal – see Scrivener v Wojcik (LO) and Rochford District Council [2001] RVR 273. Turner J held (page 249) that “the [valuation] tribunal had no jurisdiction to entertain the appeal and there is no jurisdiction whether by agreement …. or by estoppel ….”

These cases emphasise the need for validity to be considered at all stages of the appeal process and not just at initial receipt.

6.12.1 Further guidance on late identification of invalidity arising from the Upper Tribunal decision Kendrick v Mayday Optical (2014) RA

In April 2012 the President of the Valuation Tribunal, Professor Graham Zellick, considered the validity of two proposals containing inaccurate rental information. The default was recognised by Valuation Officer sometime after their initial receipt.

In his first judgement (Imperial Tobacco) the President undertook an overview of the legislation and provided a number of helpful observations. He noted that Regulation 8(1) states that where the VO is of the opinion that a proposal has not been validly made, the VO may serve an invalidity notice. This indicates that the VO has discretion in the manner he treated proposals and in his view if the errors or omissions were insignificant or trivial they should have no impact on a proposals validity. He then went on to identify four different situations involving a departure from the regulatory requirements; and although the VO was able to challenge invalidity outside the Regulation 8 process in his opinion there was only two categories where a challenge of this nature should be successful.

The first category is where errors or omissions of substance impair the VO’s ability to consider the appellant’s case and which may cause an adverse impact on an assessment of the correct RV. It was this criterion which was closely examined by the Professor in the Imperial Tobacco case and the subsequent Mayday Optical case. In both cases the issue presented was whether the inaccurate rental detail should result in the proposals being treated as invalid. The President considered that the test encapsulated two questions: (a) Has there been substantial compliance? (b) Has it caused the VO any prejudice? When he applied this reasoning to the facts of the cases before him the President decided that both the Imperial Tobacco and Mayday Optical proposals should be treated as valid.

The rent on the Imperial Tobacco hereditament was derived from a ground lease and had no relevance to the rateable value. Consequently it was hard to say the VO had been prejudiced by the inaccurate information provided on the proposal form. In the Mayday Optical case the rent was stated on the proposal to be £9,500, and this was held by the President to be an error in light of the FOR evidence that stated the rent passing as being £10,000 per annum. Nevertheless applying his own criteria the President held that the proposal should be treated as invalid. The VO appealed this decision and it was eventually overturned by the Upper Tribunal as reported in Kendrick v Mayday Optical (2014) RA …. Counsel for the VO sought for the purpose of the appeal that the Upper Tribunal should proceed on the basis of the President’s analysis but contended that he had wrongly applied his own tests in finding the proposal was valid. The Judge agreed with counsel’s submission that the 5% discrepancy in the rental declared was significant and this did not comply with the requirements of the legislation and further the VO was likely to be prejudiced by the error as this could lead to an under assessment of the subject property and potentially others like it.  According on appeal the proposal was declared invalid.

The second category involve in the words of the President “errors or omissions so fundamental that the proposal cannot in any circumstances be treated as valid…In this category, the VO has no alternative but to pronounce the proposal (in his opinion) invalid; and should such a proposal come before the Tribunal, whether on appeal against an invalidity notice or otherwise, the Tribunal, whatever stance taken by the VO, would have to declare the proposal invalid and either uphold the invalidity notice or strike out the appeal on the basis that the Tribunal had no jurisdiction to entertain it.”

In order to illustrate the point the President made reference to two case precedents: R v Northamptonshire LVC, ex parte Anglian Water Authority (see paragraph 5.2) a Court of Appeal decision which dealt with the requirement to properly identify the property to which the proposal relates, and Mainstream Ventures v Woolway (see paragraph 3.21 and 6.12) in which the proposer was not qualified to make a proposal as he was not the occupier. Another case that illustrates a fatally flawed proposal is Esau Brothers v Rodd (1992) RA 257, in which case a proposal was served outside the time limits set by the legislation.

The President also drew attention to the comment of the President of the Lands Tribunal in  Tuplin (VO) v Focus (2009) RA 226 in which the Valuation Officer’s late claim that a proposal was invalid due to an absence of causal link was rejected. In this case the failure to serve an invalidity notice deprived the appellant of making good the deficiency by serving a further proposal because of the intervening closure of the list. In these circumstances the failure to serve an invalidity notice within the prescribed period may be a good indication that the proposal was not invalid.

In summary then the Valuation Officer is able to challenge the validity of a proposal outside of the provisions of Regulation 8 but the circumstances in which this can be done are restricted to those detailed above. Each situation has to be considered on its own merits and it is recommended that if you have any doubt then you should contact your Technical Adviser who will assist you in following the correct approach.

6.13 Validity and proposals citing tribunal decisions - causal link

Regulation 4(1)(e) provides a proposal may be made to alter a list on grounds citing a tribunal decision in respect of a different hereditament - see paragraph 3.3.1 above. The wording of Regulation 4(1)(e) includes the phrase "…. by reason of a decision ….". This implies that the decision of the tribunal has led to the opinion being formed that the list entry in respect of the hereditament on which the proposal is submitted is inaccurate. In other words, there should be a causal link between the decision and forming the opinion that the list entry on another hereditament is wrong.

This interpretation was upheld in the Lands Tribunal decision in Downing (VO) v Corby Power Ltd [1997] RA 60. Note that the RA report erroneously names the VO as “Canning”. The case involved a proposal made under Reg 4 (4)(b) of SI 1993 No. 291 which has been superseded by Reg 4A (1)(d) but the then requirements for a valid proposal are still relevant in connection with there needing to be a causal link between the VT decision cited and the opinion that the assessment on the appeal hereditament is incorrect. Reg 4(4)(b) provided for a proposal to be made if a Billing Authority or interested person “is of the opinion that by reason of - …(b) a decision of a valuation tribunal …. the rateable value or other information shown in the list for any hereditament is wrong ..”

In Corby Power the appeal hereditament was a power station and was formula rated by reference to its potential output. The maker of the proposal cited a tribunal decision relating to a shop as grounds for the proposal. The proposer did not pretend that the decision in the case of the earlier proposal had any relevance to his proposal to reduce the assessment on the Corby power station, nor did he suggest that he had formed the opinion that the assessment on the power station was incorrect by reason of the decision in the earlier case. In light of this evidence, it was clear that in making the proposal the proposer had not formed the opinion that the assessment of the power station was incorrect by reason of the earlier decision, which he had not read, and which if he had read, would not have assisted in forming the opinion that the power station was incorrectly assessed. In the Tribunal’s view no experienced valuer could have formed that opinion on the basis of the decision relating to the shop.

The President agreed with the submission for the VO, that the formation of the requisite opinion is a condition precedent to making a valid proposal, and concluded by saying that in his judgement the proposal made in this case was not validly made.

It may not always be apparent from consideration of the proposal by itself whether there is a causal link. This may only become evident once the merits of the proposal are under consideration. If the VO forms the opinion that there is no causal link then, even though all the statutory information required for a valid proposal has been included, validity can still be challenged - see paragraphs 6.11 and 6.12 above.

It should be noted that if the cited decision is not a reasoned decision but one merely confirming what has provisionally been agreed between the valuation officer and ratepayer or agent, it is considered that the requirement to form an opinion that a list entry is incorrect "…. by reason of a decision …" is not satisfied. Unless the cited decision explains why the particular decision was reached it is submitted that it cannot form the basis for concluding that the assessment of any other hereditament is incorrect. Consequently, there will be no causal link between the decision and the proposal served citing the decision. It can however be argued that an ‘unreasoned’ decision may support a proposal where the result of the agreement confirmed by the tribunal is sufficient to make it clear that the rateable value of the interested person’s hereditament is wrong, particularly if the two properties are very similar. The argument loses its force as the characteristics and/or localities of the two hereditaments diverge.

In cases of doubt advice should be sought from the Technical Adviser to whom a copy the proposal should be provided. Since the burden of proving invalidity falls upon the VO, invalidity notices should therefore only be reserved for the most obvious cases.

6.14 Operational procedures

Operational procedures relating to proposals considered to be invalid are dealt with in NDR Procedures manual.

7. Scope of proposal

7.1 The grounds stated in the proposal should be carefully considered because they may limit the alteration which can be made to a list consequent on that proposal.

You cannot agree to delete an entry on a proposal that has sought a reduction, although you may following discussion of that proposal decide it is appropriate to delete the entry by VO notice. Similarly you cannot agree to reduce a rateable value on a proposal that has only sought a deletion of the Rating list entry.

There is a common although misplaced belief, that you can agree anything on a proposal; you can't, any agreement must be within the scope of the proposal, just as any VT or Upper Tribunal decision must also be within the scope of the proposal.

Case law confirms this.

7.2 The case of Courtney plc v Murphy (VO) [1998] RA 77 involved consideration of two proposals made seeking deletion/reduction of an assessment because of extensive building works. Both proposals gave 30 January 1995 as the date works began. The valuation tribunal reduced the assessment with effect from 30 January 1995. The ratepayer appealed, seeking an earlier effective date of 1 April 1990. They claimed that the air conditioning system which was being replaced/refurbished at the dates in February and March 1995 on which the proposals were made, had been defective throughout the ratepayer’s tenancy. The Lands Tribunal agreed with the valuation officer that the proposals limited the scope of the appeals. The grounds were quite clearly citing a material change of circumstances and there was no mention in either of the proposals of a date prior to 30 January 1995 and in fact the question of an earlier effective date had not been raised prior to the appeal to Lands Tribunal. The Lands Tribunal accepted the valuation officer's contention that it was not possible to order an earlier effective date than 30 January 1995 because this was outside the scope of the disagreement that led the valuation officer to transmit the proposal to the clerk to the valuation tribunal as an appeal.

The Lands Tribunal member, Mr Clarke, stated (page 86)

"the jurisdiction of a local valuation tribunal is limited to determining the appeal or "disagreement" under Reg 12(1) … which arises out of the originating proposal."

And further (page 87)

"is settled law under the 1988 Act and the 1993 regulations that the jurisdiction of a local valuation tribunal and this tribunal on appeal is limited to the issues raised by the proposal giving rise to the appeal."

7.3 The scope of proposal was considered again in Davey (VO) v O'Kelly [1999] RA 245. In this case a proposal was made on the grounds that the hereditament should be exempt from non-domestic rating under the provisions of paragraph 16(1)(c) of Schedule 5 Local Government Finance Act 1988. Mr O’Kelly was registered under the Disabled Persons (Employment) Acts 1944 and 1958 and had been provided with a motorised wheelchair by the Employment Service under the Access to Work scheme for use in the appeal hereditament. There were two issues for the Lands Tribunal to decide; the scope of the appeal and whether the ratepayer was entitled to exemption. In connection with the first issue the Lands Tribunal members Mr Clarke and Mr Francis said (page 253)

"In our view the scope of the "disagreement" and the VO's "refusal to alter the list" are limited by the wording of the proposal …..

"The jurisdiction of a local valuation tribunal is limited to determining the appeal or "disagreement" under Reg 12(1), which arises out of the originating proposal (see 2(1) definition of appeal)

"The Lands Tribunal may make any order which the valuation tribunal could have made but has no power to make an order which the lower tribunal could not have made. It is not open to this tribunal to go further than the valuation tribunal and extend the scope of the appeal or disagreement referred to that tribunal, which in turn is limited by the originating proposal."

and later at page 255

"In our judgment this proposal must be construed as a claim for exemption solely under para 16(1)(c) of schedule 5 to the 1988 Act. It specifically refers to this sub-para but not to the other grounds for exemption under para 16(1). ….. We do not think that the reasons for the proposal can be interpreted to extend to the other grounds of exemption under para 16(1) of schedule 5 to the 1988 Act. Accordingly, we hold that this appeal is limited by the originating proposal to the issue of exemption under para 16(1)(c) of schedule 5 to the 1988 Act."

7.4 In Galgate Cricket Club v Doyle (VO) [2000] RA 21 the originating proposal sought a reduction in assessment to RV £1 and included as one of the grounds for seeking the alteration "that the assessment(s) of the hereditament(s) is/are bad in law."

An issue raised by the valuation officer at Lands Tribunal was whether the scope of proposal was sufficiently wide to encompass the issue of exemption under paragraph 15 of schedule 5 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 which gives exemption to parks. The proposal sought a reduction in assessment but made no mention of seeking exemption. This had not previously been raised as an issue by the valuation officer.

The President of the Lands Tribunal held that the wording was wide enough to encompass the question of exemption.

It is considered that the Galgate decision does not change the position as indicated by the earlier cases. It does however, illustrate that inclusion of the general wording "bad in law" in a proposal will not limit consideration of the legality of a list entry. For example, if a hereditament should be exempt or deleted from the list.

As for factual matters, it is considered that this decision will not enable these matters to be expanded upon from those identified in the proposal. For example, a material change of circumstance proposal cannot be converted into a compiled list proposal as a result of inclusion of catch-all wording. Such an interpretation would negate the different grounds for making proposals contained in Reg 4 and the effective date provisions contained in Reg 14.

7.5 In O’Brien v Clark (VO) [2006] RA 403 of a 2000 List appeal, the ratepayer argued for two alternative grounds for his appeal, firstly that the list ought to be deleted, and secondly, in the alternative, that the assessment should be reduced. In the proposal form, the ratepayer asked for the existing entry to be deleted and in the grounds for the proposed alteration, he stated that circumstances affecting the rateable value of the property changed with the reasons for believing that the rating list is inaccurate being “ This site was described as land used for advertising but fell into disrepair and effectively ceased to be so used as per it is 2000”. In the first hearing for preliminary issue, the Lands Tribunal decided it was tolerably clear that the ratepayer, in completing the proposal form as he did, was seeking to advance two matters and the proposal completed by the ratepayer has sufficiently identified both matters and hence determined that the ratepayer’s proposal was made on two grounds.

In a further hearing on the substantive issue of this appeal O’Brien (t/a Poster Sites Southern) v Harding (VO) [2008] RA 73, the Tribunal affirmed the importance of the proper interpretation of a proposal in order to consider whether a proposal should be read as amounting to one made on more than one ground, so far as [the alternative ground] could be understood.

For the 2005 Lists, the scope of a proposal should be considered in connection with the provision in Regulation 4(3) (a) which specifies that no proposal may be made by reference to more than one ground unless for each of the grounds relied upon, the material day and the effective date are the same. Even if it is accepted that a proposal should be interpreted as being made on more than one ground, it should still be treated as invalid if the material day and effective date for the different grounds involved are not the same to one another.

7.6 Leda Properties v Howells (2009) RA 165

The ratepayer sought a deletion or alternatively a reduction in the RV. However the proposal only made reference to a single ground being deletion. The detailed reasons provided in support of the proposal simply made reference to the property being incapable of beneficial occupation and beyond economic repair.

Galgate distinguished:
“The ratepayer’s alternative contention – that the hereditament should be entered in the list as a store at a rateable value of £90,000 – would require two alterations to be made to the list.  The description would require to be changed from “Computer Centre and Premises” to “Store and Premises” and the rateable value would have to be reduced.  It is not in my view reasonably possible to construe the completed form as encompassing a proposal for a change in the description of the hereditament or the reduction in its rateable value.  The option to specify these (alterations B and G in Part B) was not exercised, and the ground specified in Part C was deletion.  In these circumstances the inclusion of the standard formulaic words “The present assessment is incorrect excessive & bad in law” was in my judgment patently insufficient to permit the proposal.  This is not one of those cases (cf Galgate Cricket Club v Doyle (VO) [2001] RA 21) where a proposal can properly be treated as encompassing two grounds.  It was quite evidently one for deletion alone.  It is moreover to be noted that on the same day Wilks Head & Eve made two other alternative proposals, each seeking deletion but specifying different effective dates.  I have no doubt at all that if the intention had been, as a further alternative, to seek an alteration in the hereditament’s description and a reduction in rateable value a proposal to this effect would have been made.”

The reason for scope:
“The purpose of requiring that the alterations proposed should be identified and that the reasons for the alterations should be specified is so that the VO is able to deal with the proposal in the way that he is required to deal with it under the Regulations.  Reading the form as submitted he could not possibly have known that he was, or even might be, being asked to alter the description of the hereditament to “Store” or to reduce the rateable value to one that reflected its use for that purpose.”

“So that the VO is able to deal with the proposal in the way that he is required to deal with it under the Regulations”- in the preamble the president highlights relevant regulations and notes “The duty of the VO is to give effect to the proposal if he considers it to be well-founded or otherwise to refer the matter to the valuation tribunal as an appeal: regulations 9 and 12. From this it seems the test may be that the proposal must identify the alterations required so that VO may well found if he is in agreement with proposal. The matters are not sufficiently identified then it is beyond the scope of the proposal and cannot be dealt with in the proceedings under Reg 12 (now Reg 13)

In cases of doubt advice should be sought from the Technical Adviser to whom a copy of the proposal should be provided.

8. Copies of Proposals

8.1 Regulation 9(1) requires the VO within six weeks to serve a copy of any proposals served on him on the following persons or bodies if they are not themselves the maker of the proposal -

a) the ratepayer in relation to the hereditament to which the proposal relates; and

b) the relevant authority (defined in Regulation 2(1) as “the authority in whose area the hereditament is situated”), where that authority

(i) is a special authority, or

(ii) has served notice on the VO that it wishes to receive a copy of a class or classes of proposal, and the proposal falls within any such class.

The City of London is a special authority for the purposes of this regulation and will require a copy of every proposal. “Special authority” is defined in s 144(6) LGFA 1988.

See paragraph 3.8.3 above if an agent contends that the copy proposal required under Reg 9(1)(a) should be sent to them rather than the ratepayer.

Billing authority rights under regulation 9(1) are covered in more detail in RM 2:10:7

9. Circumstances where early inspections are required

9.1 Proposals requiring prompt action

In addition to the general requirement for VOs to deal with proposals as soon as possible, proposals referring to situations:

  • of a temporary nature; or
  • of which the effects are temporary;
  • or where hardship is claimed

must be singled out for an early inspection. Letters in a similar vein, not necessarily yet classified as proposals, should be treated with the same degree of urgency.

9.2 Programming implications

During the 12 month period following the publication of the next lists, in circumstances where temporary allowances may be appropriate in connection with an outstanding MCC proposal it may be necessary to introduce these cases into a programme earlier than a strict chronological order would dictate. This is to ensure that the VO is able to make any necessary list alterations to restore an allowance given for a temporary MCC or to reflect further subsequent material changes.

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