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Chancellor urged to act over £750 million in business rates disputes
15 August 2022

Companies in England are still waiting for around £750 million in potential tax rebates, new research suggests.

Experts on Monday called on the Chancellor to hurry the potential payments to firms that have challenged their business rates.

Rates are paid based on the value of the property that a company uses. Under a system introduced in 2017, the firms are able to challenge the valuation of their properties that is used to calculate how much they owe the local council in tax.

But in the three months to the end of June, just 2,830 such challenges were resolved – down 28% from the previous quarter.

More than 4,200 cases were received by HM Revenue and Customs in the same period, according to Altus Group, which advises commercial real estate companies.

Robert Hayton, UK President of Altus Group, said in a statement: "There is a cost-of-doing-business crisis, insolvencies are on the rise, yet firms are being denied a vital cash injection as their rates challenges are kicked down the road."

He called on Nadhim Zahawi to intervene and set targets for how many cases need to be resolved by the end of the year.

More than 5,600 companies became insolvent in the three months to the end of June, according to the Insolvency Service. It is 13% higher than the previous quarter and 81% up on a year ago.

Companies are having to face rising inflation, which is pushing up the costs they have to pay. They will also likely be faced with the prospect of a recession in the UK next year.

The Bank of England has forecast that the economy will start contracting in the fourth quarter of this year and continue shrinking every quarter in 2023.

Output from the UK’s manufacturing sector has started to shrink for the first time since the early pandemic days, a survey recently suggested.

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