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Consultation on Business Rates - rewriting the rules from the Mazars case

We will leave it to the economists to argue over whether property taxes are progressive or regressive. We can also leave it to the politicians to decide if there is something to be said about a wholesale reform of the rating system itself (clue - there aren't many votes in letting big businesses off taxes at the moment!).

What the politicians did decide to do, however, was to legislate on reversing the Supreme Court decision in the Mazars  case, and, true to their word, DCLG issued a consultation paper in the dog days between Christmas and the New Year (were they really trying to bury it?).

The consultation is about implementation of the decision,  not whether or not it is right to do so. However, there are also detailed questions about what should happen in those cases where, following the decision, HMRC have acted on it to change a listing to the taxpayer's detriment in relation to the 2010 rating lists and, because of the legislation that closes or has closed that list from appeal. A very large sum could depend on this, so if you or any of your clients have been affected, it is well worthwhile making sure that your voice is heard to ensure that the appropriate refunds will be able to be claimed.

In the 2017 Autumn Budget the Chancellor announced that the government will legislate to reinstate the relevant elements of the Valuation Office Agency’s practice prior to the decision of the Supreme Court in Woolway (VO) v Mazars [2015] UKSC 53.