Rating agents

We receive many ‘blanket’ requests from rating agents and surveyors asking for credit refunds, in addition to retrospective empty property allowances and Section 44a requests.

Although we are happy to assist with any requests from agents, all queries must be accompanied by a letter of authority from the ratepayer. Guidance is set out below as to how we administer specific requests.

Rating audits

We receive numerous requests from certain agents to provide details of charges going back to the start of accounts; in some cases this will be from 1 April 1990. Unfortunately we do not have the resource to fulfil these extensive requests. In most cases a rating agent will have the facility to calculate liability from information provided by the client and their own rating software.

If you feel a specific error has been made by us on a client’s account we are more than happy to check our calculations and make amendments if necessary.

Agents must supply an account/property reference for their client’s accounts; it is not within our remit to search for named clients on a speculative basis who may have paid business rates in the area.

Credits

Generally, credits occurring on non-domestic rating accounts are refunded at the time they arise. We prefer to refund direct to a client’s bank account and in some cases may send out a credit account requesting bank account details.

In some cases, credit amounts may be transferred to clear client debts elsewhere within the local authority; in this situation the client is notified of our intention.

More about accounts in credit.

Empty property reductions

Any request for empty property exemptions/reliefs should be made at the time of vacation, whether it is permanent or temporary (in the case of shop re-fitting etc.).

Retrospective claims will only be considered in exceptional circumstances and where substantial documentary evidence can be provided.

Section 44a requests

We use our discretion to grant relief under Section 44a of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 to reflect partial occupation and phased vacation/occupation when appropriate. Relief is only granted where a situation is seen as ‘temporary’. We do not accept retrospective claims.

All claims must be made in writing or via email to local.taxation@scarborough.gov.uk. Floor plans and measurements must be provided, along with the reason for application, start date and estimated timescale.

Valuation Office Agency updates to the Rating List

An update schedule is received weekly from the Valuation Office. Straightforward amendments are generally processed within a two week period; however there may be instances where adjustments take longer. Revised accounts and refunds are forwarded directly to the client, unless otherwise requested.