ACS has responded to the Welsh Government consultation on reforming the business rates appeals system, calling for greater transparency for the data used to arrive at valuations and warning against repeating the new Check, Challenge, Appeal appeals system in England.

The Welsh Government’s consultation aims to reduce speculative appeals and includes proposals to introduce fees for ratepayers and amend time limits for the VOA and VTW at each stage of an appeal.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We welcome the Welsh Government’s continued focus on reforming business rates, including the appeals system and small business relief.

“The appeals system must be transparent, accessible for all retailers and deliver accurate rates bills. We would welcome retailers being given easier access to the data behind their rates bills and encourage the Welsh Government to develop a bespoke appeals system that works for Welsh ratepayers.”

Polling from the ACS Voice of Local Shops survey found that 19% of convenience retailers in Wales appealed their 2010 rateable value, with 89% of those seeing a change to their rateable value.

The ACS submission also raised concerns about potential evidence burdens for retailers to provide an alternative valuation and called for VTW to consider all available evidence at the Tribunal stage.