Part 7: Draft regulations providing procedural rules for the Local Taxation Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal post transfer
70. Schedule 9, paragraph 4(1) and (2) of the 2014 Act confers on the Scottish Ministers, for the time being, the function of making rules regulating the practice and procedure to be followed in proceedings at the Scottish Tribunals.
71. The transfer in to the First-tier Tribunal of the functions of the VACs and the CTRRP provides an opportunity to bring together, so far as appropriate, the rules of procedure of the VACs and the CTRRP. The intention is that there should be one set of rules for the new Local Taxation Chamber which will cover all cases which would have gone to the VACs or the CTRRP, though it is proposed that there will be bespoke rules, as well as general rules, which will relate to the specific functions of the former VACs and the CTRRP.
72. The current appeal procedure of the VACs in relation to council tax appeals is set out in Part IV of the Council Tax (Alteration of Lists and Appeals) (Scotland) Regulations 1993. These are largely replicated in the new regulations. However, in the draft regulations we have provided the opportunity for appellants to submit an appeal in the event that an assessor does not convey an appeal to the First-tier Tribunal. One alternative is to replicate the approach being taken in NDR cases whereby appellants alone will be responsible for submitting appeals to the First-tier Tribunal. We would welcome views on this.
73. The current appeal procedure of the VACs in relation to NDR is set out in the Valuation Appeal Committee (Procedure in Appeals under the Valuation Acts) (Scotland) Regulations 1995. The appeals process in relation to NDR is set to be altered as a result of changes made to the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1975 by section 10 of the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Act 2020. Some rules on timing associated with the revised system are to be set out by amendment to the Valuation Timetable (Scotland) Order 1995 (“the 1995 Order”), rather than in the rules of procedure, though the draft rules of procedure specify where the timings in the 1995 Order apply. Amendments to the 1995 Order are to be the subject of a separate consultation which can be accessed at: https://consult.gov.scot/local-government-and-communities/non-domestic-rates-processes (see paragraph 36 above).
74. The Valuation Appeal Committee (Procedure in Civil Penalty Appeals) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, which came into force on 19 November 2020, make provision for appeals to a VAC in relation to assessor penalty notices and local authority penalty notices under the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Act 2020 (“the 2020 Regulations”). These are penalty notices issued where a requirement to provide information is not complied with. On appeal, a VAC can mitigate or remit any penalty.
75. New rules covering civil penalty appeals will also be required when this function of the VACs is transferred to the new Local Taxation Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal and these have been included in the draft regulations in Annex F. The 2020 Regulations will be revoked.
Replacement of current CTRRP rules of procedure
76. The rules of procedure for the CTRRPs are set out in regulation 90D of the 2012 Regulations (though as noted at paragraph 33, these are due to be replaced by the 2021 Regulations), regulation 70C of the Council Tax Reduction (State Pension Credit) (Scotland) Regulations 2012 and in two Practice Notes made by the senior reviewer in 2015 and 2020.
77. New rules in relation to CTRRP appeals will also be required when this function is transferred to the new Local Taxation Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal and these have been included in the draft regulations in Annex F.
78. Appeals of VACs (or LTS) decisions which are currently heard by the Lands Valuation Appeal Court will continue to be heard by that court after transfer. However, under section 82(4) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992, any party to an appeal in relation to council tax may appeal against a decision of the VAC on a point of law to the Court of Session. Post transfer it is intended that these appeals and those from the CTRRP will go to the Upper Tribunal instead and these regulations make provision for that new route of appeal.
See supporting documents for associated regulations.
Questions on Draft Regulations
Q9: Do you have any specific comments on the draft regulations in Annex F setting out the proposed Rules of Procedure for the Local Taxation Chamber within the First-tier Tribunal?
Q10: The draft Regulations provide an additional right for appellants to submit an appeal in the event that an assessor does not do so within a certain time period. In relation to council tax appeals, should the right to submit appeals become the sole responsibility of the appellants?
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