I am pleased to offer the Scottish Government's response to its consultation on the non-domestic rating valuation appeals system.
The Government's tax policies are of the utmost importance to our commitment to sustainable economic growth and, specifically, our Economic Strategy priorities of investment, innovation, internationalisation and inclusive growth. The valuation of the non-domestic property base is crucial to ensuring a proportionate basis for taxation, thus supporting public expenditure to help deliver these economic growth ambitions.
The longstanding right for all ratepayers to appeal their valuations and receive a fair and impartial hearing are an integral part of this. For these reasons we keep the valuation appeal arrangements under close review, and I am grateful to those who responded to this consultation and enabled an informed consideration of reform options.
I recognise the range of issues raised by respondents, many of which need to be balanced against each other in considering a fair, efficient and proportionate appeals system. I also recognise that the current arrangements are 'tried and tested' and have evolved over time in light of experience.
Accordingly I have considered potential reforms carefully, and my proposals are outlined in this document. I will bring forward legislation shortly to implement these in time for the 2017 revaluation. We will continue to engage stakeholders in respect of the later transfer of Valuation Appeal Committee functions to the Scottish Tribunals structure, exploring any associated opportunities for further substantive reforms.
Our longer-term strategic approach to business rates will be informed by the external review group led by Ken Barclay, which is due to report to me by next summer. I would encourage ratepayers to engage with that work, and help shape the wider policy direction.
Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution
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