If you have identified a property in your Authority which needs to be added or altered on the Rating list, the next step is to gather enough detailed, accurate information about that property so that an electronic billing authority report (eBAR) can be submitted to the Valuation Office.
With a 90-working day turnaround, once an eBAR has been submitted it can take anywhere up to 4 ½ months for your property to be added or amended on the list. This is assuming the eBAR has been correctly prepared and does not result in no-action being taken. No-actions typically occur if inaccurate data is provided such as the occupier information or address being incorrect.
Preparing your Electronic Billing Authority Report (eBAR)
Preparing your eBAR can be fairly resource intensive if you don’t know where to look for information. At Wilks Head & Eve (WHE) as part of our service offering we handle eBAR submissions on behalf of our clients. When identifying a missing or undervalued property our first port of call focusses on desktop research about that property. Analysing imagery, identifying occupier details, reviewing planning information, information held on company websites, address details and map grid references, using all this we can start compiling the eBAR.
Using a sophisticated web portal, Local Authority clients can review the contents of eBAR’s before they are submitted, enabling them to come back with any queries or further information they may need before submitting the report.
If during the process either the Authority or Wilks Head & Eve note that information is lacking such as up to date photos or plans of the property, the WHE team will conduct a full onsite inspection to capture the additional data required minimising the likelihood of a submission being no actioned.
The reasons and remarks section of the eBAR is also a key part of the submission outlining why the property needs to be altered or added in the first instance. An eBAR can be submitted for any number of reasons including – new properties being added to the list, a change in use from domestic to non-domestic, changes in exemption statuses, improvements or alterations to the property, splits or mergers of properties or boundary changes. Similarly, the inclusion of a new or updated rateable value with supporting evidence as to how that figure has been arrived at, is crucial.
During initial submissions of eBAR’s, there is not the facility to submit accompanying photo’s or plans but the Valuation Office can come back and request these at any time. Our Client portal hosts this information so that clients can access them quickly and easily and provide them to the VOA as soon as a request for further information comes in. Further value is added by the inclusion in the eBAR of any historical precedents, new case law or similar assessments that have been recently added that helps support the case for the property to be added or amended to the Rating list.
Electronic Billing Authority Report (eBAR) outcomes
Once a property has been successfully reviewed and approved by the VOA it is typically added on to the Rating list within one week and rates can be charged from that point forward. If a business is unhappy with the addition or amendment then they would then turn to the Check, Challenge and Appeals process.
The appeals process is a lengthy process and not one that a ratepayer would enter into lightly. Any check/challenge that is raised would likely be as a result of a real issue and at WHE we monitor these for our clients and advise of any risks on the rateable value being reduced. Given the length of research undertaken by the team here, there is not typically many instances where this would occur.
If you want to find out more about how Wilks Head & Eve successfully get properties added or altered on the rating list contact 020 7637 8471 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.