Huntingdonshire businesses warned of rate ruse

BUSINESS rate payers in Huntingdonshire have been warned of a company going door-to-door promising to reduce their business rates. Huntingdonshire District Council said that some businesses had even paid fees on the understanding that their rates would be

BUSINESS rate payers in Huntingdonshire have been warned of a company going door-to-door promising to reduce their business rates.

Huntingdonshire District Council said that some businesses had even paid fees on the understanding that their rates would be reduced, though they never were.

The company claims to be working on behalf of the district council, which it claims is too busy to deal with rates enquiries.

Julia Barber, head of customer services, said the ruse was not uncommon.


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"We hear about these companies every few years. They approach ratepayers with big promises, but often fail to deliver.

"We have not approved any firm to approach ratepayers in the district, and nor would we do so. People should not part with their cash, without being completely clear that the company they are dealing with is reputable."

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Businesses can challenge the rates payable on business premises by appealing to the Valuation Office Agency, for which there is no fee.

There are companies which offer a service that could help ratepayers reduce their rateable values, but business owners should check they are registered with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (www.rics.org.uk) or the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation (www.irrv.org.uk).

Companies registered with these organisations are likely to be reputable, and usually work on a "no win, no fee" basis.

The district council can advise on ratings appeals, though it warns that a reduction in rateable value may not result in a reduction in the amount payable.

INFORMATION: To find out how to appeal see www.huntingdonshire.gov.uk or the Valuation Office website at www.VOA.gov.uk.

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