Belfast Telegraph

Firms urged to challenge new rates

By Jamie Stinson

Businesses should challenge new non-domestic rate valuations before rates are struck and bills are issued next year it has been claimed.

The Department of Finance and Personnel's Land & Property Services (LPS) has revalued all 73,000 non-domestic properties in Northern Ireland, based on 2013 figures. This could see many retailers across Northern Ireland seeing reductions in their rates.

It has been estimated that some shops on Donegall Place in the heart of Belfast's city centre could see bills fall by half, but bars in Cathedral Quarter could see their rates soar.

John Gowland, a senior surveyor, said firms need to act sooner rather than later if they are unhappy with their valuation. "I would encourage ratepayers to accept the Finance Minister Simon Hamilton's offer to contact the LPS now and challenge the proposed valuations before the tone is struck on April 1, 2015," he said.

"From a valuation perspective it's surprising to see a lack of consistency in the relativities of value within certain classes of property."

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