Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Challenge over rates

GDP Partnership offers bank mediation, restructuring, asset management, corporate finance and real estate advice from offices in Belfast and Dublin. Earlier this year the company warned that businesses could start to legally challenge their rates bills ahead of the scheduled re-evaluation in 2015.

Business rates here are based on net annual value (NAV), which was last updated in 2001. Eleven years later and following the recession, a review of business rates –postponed from 2010 and 2011 – isn't due until 2015. Conor Devine, a chartered surveyor and principal at GDP Partnership, said he has clients facing ruin because of a lack of flexibility from Land and Property Services.

"I have around six clients who could be bust in six months' time with the loss of around 60 jobs," he said. "We are finding that we can work things out with the banks, but with Land and Property Services, if the computer says it's time to pay, it is time to pay.

"Many people did property deals expecting a re-evaluation of rates in 2010, and then it was put back to 2011, and now it is not happening until 2015 and people are still paying rates based on the value of the property in 2001, before the downturn.

"Some have indicated to me that they intend to legally challenge their rates bills."

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