Three-year revaluation period
Three-year revaluation cycles are certainly workable. Whether they are entirely in the ratepayer’s interests depends on the detail.
A shorter valuation period undoubtedly has benefits in terms of the speed at which value changes are passed on to ratepayers and it should avoid the massive step change we saw in 2017, but there is an inevitable increase in costs in revaluing more frequently. Government has stated that any changes must be revenue neutral and this appears to mean that those extra costs will be passed to the ratepayer.
Bringing forward the next scheduled revaluation to 2021 will reduce the next step from the five years that we had been expecting.
We are relieved to see self-assessment dropped for the time being. It is fraught with difficulties and is too high a price to pay for a shorter revaluation cycle.
Self-assessment essentially shifts the costs of setting value onto the ratepayers, placing the burden on them to make a correct assessment or face penalties.
You can’t compare income tax with business rates. Most businesses lack access to the rental information on comparable buildings that is typically needed to establish the market value of the property they occupy. Those businesses that could afford to would have to buy data or engage the services of rating agents to undertake the self-assessment on their behalf. The remit of the VOA then effectively changes from one of assessing to policing.