Orkney & Shetland

Valuation Joint Board

 

VALUATION

Introduction

Property based local taxation in Scotland is split into two separate parts - domestic property and non-domestic property. Domestic properties are subject to COUNCIL TAX whilst non-domestic properties are entered in the Valuation Roll with a rateable value and the occupiers are charged rates.

Rateable Value

Rateable Value is defined by the Valuation and Rating (Scotland) Act 1956. It is the rent that a tenant might reasonably be expected to pay for the property on a year to year basis assuming that the tenant is also responsible for paying for items such as building repairs and insurance.
The rateable value of all properties can be viewed at the Scottish Assessors' Association website at :

www.saa.gov.uk

 Valuation Roll

For the purpose of carrying out the valuation of non-domestic properties the whole of Scotland is divided into valuation areas, each with its own assessor. It is the duty of the assessor to value all non-domestic lands and heritages within his area (with some notable exceptions such as agricultural lands and buildings) and enter these subjects and their valuations in the Valuation Roll.

A new valuation roll is made up every five years and in the intervening period it is maintained by adding new properties coming into existence, deleting properties which have ceased to be rateable and, where appropriate, making alterations to entries. The local authority then applies the non-domestic rate laid down annually by the Scottish Executive to the rateable value, adjusts for any reliefs or exemptions due, and thus calculates the rates bill.

The duty of the assessor is confined to valuing the property and entering it in the Valuation Roll. The calculation and levying of the rates bill is the duty of the appropriate local authority, normally acting through its Finance or Financial Services Department.

The Valuation Roll is a public document and each entry in the Roll includes the names of proprietors, tenants and occupiers and the Rateable Value which has been set by the Assessor.

Rateable Values are reviewed every five years at a General Revaluation which takes place at the same time throughout the United Kingdom. The last such Revaluation took place on 1 April 2017. Between Revaluations, Rateable Values generally remain unchanged until the next Revaluation - unless alterations have taken place to the property.

Valuation Notice

The Assessor is required to notify all proprietors, tenants and occupiers named in the Valuation Roll of the details of their entry at each Revaluation and of any change which he makes at any time between Revaluations. The Assessor does this by issuing a Valuation Notice to each party involved.

If you disagree with the Rateable Value shown on your Valuation Notice, or if you feel that events have taken place which have had an effect on the existing Rateable Value of your property, then you should first of all contact the Assessor.

Appeals

If you cannot agree with the Assessor on what your Rateable Value should be, you have the right to make a formal appeal. This must be done in writing and usually within 6 months of the date of revaluation, or of the issue of the Valuation Notice, or of becoming the proprietor, tenant or occupier. The Assessor can advise you on whether you have valid appeal rights at any particular time. Even after making your appeal, you can still discuss your case with the Assessor on an informal basis to try to reach an agreement. You must continue to pay the rates demanded until your appeal is decided but if your appeal is successful, you may receive interest on any amount which you have overpaid.

Should agreement with the Assessor not be reached, your case will proceed for hearing before the local Valuation Appeal Committee. The Committee members are local people appointed by the Sheriff Principal. They are all unpaid, completely independent of the Assessor and the local authority, and have no prior knowledge of your case. A paid secretary who is usually a solicitor assists the Committee. The secretary does not take any part in reaching a decision in your case but is there to advise on legal matters and may take part in the hearing.

Cases which are complicated or highly technical or which raise major questions of principle or law can be referred to the Lands Tribunal for Scotland as an alternative to being heard by the local Committee. Procedures for requesting such a referral are explained on the Valuation Notice.

A final right of appeal, against the decision of the local Valuation Appeal Committee or the Lands Tribunal, exists to the Lands Valuation Appeal Court which is a Division of the Court of Session.

Valuations

Assessors use a wide range of property information such as cost information and rental evidence, and analyse the rental market in depth to ensure that their valuations are both consistent one against another and reflect the individual characteristics of each property.

For most properties such as shops, offices, warehouses and other industrial property, evidence of actual rents being paid for similar properties in the area are analysed to assess rateable values.

For properties such as pubs and other licensed premises, reference is often made to the business receipts being achieved to gauge the level of value, using this as the basis for the assessment of rateable value. It should be recognised that the essence of the valuation scheme is that it is based on the hypothetical achievable turnover. The basis of any assessment is to ascertain “the rent at which the lands and heritages might reasonably be expected to let from year to year” on the statutory terms,and in the case of licensed premises this is done by identifying a relationship between rents and turnovers which can then be used to arrive at Net Annual Value.

For specialist property like oil terminals, airports, public buildings and communication masts etc neither of these methods is appropriate, so costs of buildings, steel structures, tanks  and land costs form the basis for the assessment of rateable value.

In order to remain consistent throughout Scotland, Scottish Assessors follow “Practice Notes” which are available for viewing and downloading on the Scottish Assessors Website. These Practice Notes cover the valuation of Commercial, Industrial, Miscellaneous and Public Buildings subjects as well as giving guidance on the Basic Principles of valuation.