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McCANN WE DO IT JIM?!

{Captain’s log data 2010.10.31]

Rather like Captain James T Kirk of the Starship Enterprise, whose mission was to boldly go and convince the unbelievers of yet another planet that his was the truth (and they’d better believe it!) our mission at Ask-re in March was to tell the flat-earth tribe of the Valuation Officers that one of their rateable values was..excessive incorrect and bad in law!….shock, horror, could that be true??

According to the VO tribe, their schemes of valuation were sacrosanct and could not be challenged by unbelievers from planet Earth. However, our mission was to civilise these warlike deniers of the truth, to pacify them and convert them to our beliefs of fact, science and Vulcan logic: the rateable value was too high, grossly oppressive, and must be reduced substantially, after years of being so wrong.

Mr Scott!… Warp factor 5 please…

The inhabitants of the community building we had come to liberate, the innocent and oppressed McCannies, a sect of the Interpublic peoples, had crash landed in a back street of Fitzrovia centuries before and lived in their wreck, which they called The Mothership. Inside, it has been completely rebuilt ready for the return trip to their Motherland one day around star date 2020 but outside looked just like the crumpled old wreck of the once-futuristic vehicle it had been, all shiny and glowing bright, when it fell from the blue skies over Fitzrovia into Herbrand Street, where it remains to this day. Its remaining crew have since become happy and productive members of the local community, being good citizens and paying their oppressive taxes to the  VO tribe. But in 2009, troopers Casey and Mercedes decided enough was enough and called in the Ask-re crew to liberate them, to tell their story well, and to break free of the VO oppressors. Lucy (the Chief Fun Times Officer) was not a happy bear and something needed to be done!

HS

 

By first assessing the situation and comparing the Mothership to other old space junk locally, it was obvious that other old spacecraft converted to workspace decades ago, had been taxed much lower by the VO. However, they were deaf to our peace efforts and our scientific rationale for equality of treatment. No, no,no they said, this tax cannot be reduced, it has to be paid forever because our religion of “the schemes” says so. Go away, they said in their local dialect.

Ask-re then appealed to the local Federation for a trial based on the evidence of our findings. This Valuation Tribunal tribe, distant cousins of the VO, took several tax years to decide on a Hearing in its star chamber at Whitechapel. Armed with our phasers to silence the VO so we could be heard, we then told the truth, well, and were believed at last–10 years after the first tax bill was imposed, we were granted a huge reduction all the way back to star date 2005! The McCannies were delighted, justice at last! The VO were defeated and had to pay back the excess taxes, plus interest, by order of the Tribunal. Mission accomplished Captain Kirk?

 

 

However, full justice had not been done, in the opinion of Ask-re. The tax was still too high! A further appeal needed to be made, this time to the senior council of the High Court, the supreme rulers of the property tax world. This mission needed extra power to convince the Upper Chamber members that the tax was still too high and the VO should be ruled against. The leading member of the Landmark Chambers crew, a half-Vulcan called DZ Kolinsky QC, was co-opted for the Ask-re mission. His message to the VO was “we come in peace, please listen and convert to our truth..” but we knew we might have to shoot to kill to get justice for the McCannies.

After another year of wrangling, fact-proving, surveying the comparables, lodging trial bundles, making statements of case and expert reports, all in this weird Upper Chamber dialect, we could not convince the VO to see it our way, so a trial was called, a grand council of all the parties

On the last day before battle commenced, Ask-re called for a peace counsel, in a last effort to get the VO elders, the superannuated wrinklies of their tribe, to see sense and to listen to our truth–that the tax was still too high and they should give some of it back. Trooper Kolinsky zapped their crew with his phaser argument of looking at the plain facts of the comparable taxes and to forget their schemes. The VO took 7 Earth minutes to capitulate, only arguing over who should pay their half of the peace document cost (£82.50) but otherwise agreeing–at last–that Ask-re’s truth was well told and the McCannies should be given back their overpaid taxes, all the way back to 2005. First justice, then peace, then the £1.0m refund.