Councils have been ordered to pay back all business rates on ATMs charged to retailers since 2010, entitling the average store that has paid eight years of separate rates on an ATM to a £12,000 rebate.
The Court of Appeal ruled the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) was wrong to asses ATMs seperately from the retail space they sit in, leading to business owners being wrongfully charged £300m in total.
“I have been paying approximately £1,400 every year in business rates, for the past three years,” said One Stop retailer Sunder Sandher.
Dave Hiscutt, owner of Londis Westham Road in Weymouth, said he was relieved by the ruling.
“We got hit with considerably high business rates,” he said. “It was so bad we had to start charging £1.75 per transaction because we were losing money.
“We are no longer the destination for free-to-use cash machines and we feel we have lost sales because of it.”
Despite being refused permission to appeal against the latest ruling in the Court of Appeal, the VOA could still petition the Supreme Court. A spokesperson from business rates advisors Altus Group said: “It is probably going to be a nervous wait for the next 29 days to see whether this is the end or not.”
Local councils are unable to begin processing refunds until local rating lists are amended by the VOA. “If they don’t appeal then this should be a quick process and refunds could potentially be made in a few days,” said the advisors.
“Given the judgement and that leave was refused, even if the VOA were to petition, I’m not confident at this stage that it would be granted.”
Business rates agency Montagu Evans’ partner Josh Myerson suggests the ruling will make ATMs more viable for retailers. “The upshot is the extra cost of having an ATM installed falls away and one would hope it becomes more attractive to provide these services,” he said.
Call RN on 020 7689 3357 to receive a template to send to your council checking your eligibility for a rebate
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