The 2015-16 Annual Report is now available

Friday 14, October 2016

The 2015-16 Annual Report is now available for download from our publications page

FAQs

These are some of our most frequently asked questions. If you require more detailed information then please see our guidance section.

What is the Valuation Tribunal for Wales?

The Valuation Tribunal (VT) for Wales is an independent organisation that deals with appeals about Non-Domestic Rates and Council Tax. The Tribunal has four regions which are served by offices that are strategically located throughout Wales. The Welsh Assembly Government finances the Valuation Tribunal for Wales.

The Valuation Tribunal is independent of both the Valuation Officer (VO) and the billing authority.

Members of the VT are local people who are volunteers. Although they may not be professionally qualified, they do receive formal training and are experienced in hearing appeals. Usually, three members will hear your appeal, although two members can hear an appeal if everyone agrees. A clerk, who is a paid employee of the tribunal, advises on points of procedure and law.

The Valuation Tribunal provides a free service so it cannot award costs against you. However, you do have to meet your own costs in going to the tribunal hearing. Wherever possible, we hear appeals locally.

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What is a Notice of Hearing?

This notice advises you of the date, time and venue at which the Tribunal will consider your appeal. If you are unable to attend the hearing you must notify the Regional Clerk immediately.

If you have any disability or any specific needs for the hearing room please notify the Regional Clerk immediately so that the necessary arrangements can be made.

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What should I do next?

Even at this stage it is still possible for you to settle the appeal with, depending on the type of appeal, the Listing Officer (LO) or the Valuation Officer (VO) or the Local Authority prior to the actual hearing date. Where the appeal has been settled you should notify the Clerk of the Region of the Tribunal as soon as reasonably practicable.

You may withdraw your appeal, in writing, at any stage before the hearing date.

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How do I prepare my case prior to the Hearing?

If you intend to appear before the Tribunal it is important that you have prepared your case beforehand. It is in your interest to provide the Tribunal with as much evidence as possible to support your case.

The VO/LO will be required to present evidence so as to show how he has arrived at the Rating Assessment/Banding. The Tribunal will look to you to provide evidence to support your case.

The Tribunal will expect the parties to the appeal to have agreed basic facts and to have disclosed any information that will be relied upon at the hearing.

The following guidelines may assist you in preparing and presenting your case to the Tribunal:

  • Ensure that the VO/LO's records truly reflect the nature and extent of your property as at the date of your original proposal.
  • Discuss with the VO/LO the nature of the immediate locality and factors that you consider will affect the value of the property.
  • Enquire as to what properties the VO/LO has used to support his case and advise him of any additional properties that you consider comparable.

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Am I required to exchange any evidence with the Valuation Officer or Listing Officer prior to the Hearing?

If the VO/LO supports the banding of your property on the basis of sales or rental evidence, he must notify you of this at least two weeks before the Tribunal hearing. You will have the opportunity to inspect and make copies of this evidence. If you wish, you may then ask the VO/LO to let you inspect the sales or rental evidence they hold on up to four comparable properties. If the VO/LO has used sales or rental evidence on more than four properties you may also seek information on a similar number.

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Am I required to attend the hearing?

The Tribunal can deal with your appeal in one of the following ways:

  • By a public hearing (attended by the parties or their representatives) unless the Tribunal orders otherwise on the application of a party.
  • By written representations made by all parties to the appeal, none of whom are permitted to appear before the Tribunal. If you wish your appeal to be determined in this manner you must obtain the agreement of all of the parties to the appeal. The Clerk will advise you as to the procedures and time limits. A Tribunal, determining an appeal by way of written representations, may require either party to provide additional evidence or that the appeal should be heard by way of a formal hearing.
  • By written submission. If you want your appeal to go ahead, but you are unable to attend the hearing, or be represented, you may make a written submission of your contention for the Tribunal to consider in your absence.

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What is the procedure of the Tribunal Hearing?

Proceedings at the hearing are usually informal although the Tribunal will follow a procedure so as to ensure all parties are given the opportunity of presenting their cases.

The Tribunal will determine the order in which the parties present their case. As the appellant you may be asked to speak first, alternatively the Tribunal may request the VO or LO to begin.

When you are asked to present your evidence you may call any witnesses to support your case. Having presented your evidence the VO/LO, and the Tribunal, may question you and any witness. Likewise when the VO/LO's case has been presented, you, and the Tribunal, may ask questions of the VO/LO and any witness. It is important to realise that the parties should present all the evidence when making their initial presentations. You are usually permitted to make a closing statement, but any new evidence introduced at this stage may be disregarded.

If neither you nor your representative attends, or submits written evidence to, the hearing, the Tribunal is empowered to dismiss the appeal.

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Will the Tribunal advise me of their decision on the day?

The Tribunal can either give its decision orally at the end of the hearing, or reserve its decision. In either event, the Tribunal must provide you with a statement of the reasons in writing as soon as reasonably practicable after the hearing.

The Tribunal may, as a consequence of its decision, order the VO/LO to alter the Rating or Valuation List. The VO/LO will notify the Billing Authority of the alteration. The order may also cover anything else which is necessary to give effect to the Tribunal's decision.

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Can the Tribunal award costs?

The Tribunal has no power to award costs. You will therefore have to meet your own expenses (and those of any representative) in preparing the case and attending the hearing i.e. travelling costs to the Tribunal Hearing etc. There is currently no provision for Legal Aid with regard to the Tribunal proceedings, although advice may be obtained from some solicitors under the green form scheme.

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Can the Tribunal review its decision?

The Tribunal can only review its decision on the following grounds:

  • the decision was wrongly made as a result of clerical error;
  • a party did not attend the hearing and they can show reasonable cause why they did not; or
  • the decision is affected by a decision of the High Court or the Lands Tribunal in respect of the property which is the subject of the tribunal's decision.

If you wish to apply for a review on any of the above grounds, then you should apply in writing to the Clerk of the Region of the Tribunal setting out the grounds for a review. An application for a review may be dismissed if not made within four weeks from the date the decision was notified to the parties.

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Can I appeal against the decision ( Council Tax Valuation)?

You have the right to appeal to the High Court on a point of law. The application must be made within four weeks of the date notice is given of the relevant decision or order.

The High Court may award costs against the unsuccessful party.

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Can I appeal against the decision (Non-Domestic Rating)?

You have the right to appeal to the Lands Tribunal if you appeared before the Valuation tribunal in person or were represented . The application must be made within four weeks of the date notice is given of the relevant decision or order.

The Lands Tribunal may award costs against the unsuccessful party.

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Can I complain about the service provided?

If you have a complaint about the administrative handling of your case, as opposed to the decision which the Tribunal reached on it, then:

  • In the first instance, you should write to the Clerk of the Region of the Tribunal so that he or she can investigate the matter;
  • If you are still not satisfied, you may write to the Chief Executive of the Tribunal, who is based at the North Wales Regional Office. Details can be found here.

Please note that your right of complaint is solely concerned with the administrative procedures of the Valuation Tribunal Office. It does not extend to any decision of the Tribunal following the hearing of an appeal, and is, therefore, not a substitute for your right of appeal to the High Court or the Lands Tribunal.

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