Although every effort will be made to discuss your appeal with you on an informal basis it may be that this will not be possible because of the number of individual appeals lodged. In such circumstances you will receive a notice of hearing to appear before a Valuation Appeal Committee (VAC). If this happens you will still be able to discuss your appeal with the Assessor or a member of his staff and may be able to resolve the matter. If not the VAC will hear your appeal and the Assessor’s response.
Valuation Appeal Committees comprise a chairperson and (usually) between three and six other members, all of whom are drawn from a panel of local people appointed by the Sheriff Principal. They are all unpaid and completely independent of the Assessor and your local council. The VAC hearing your case will have no prior information about your property, the grounds of your appeal or of the Assessor’s response. They will deal with the appeal on the basis of the evidence that they hear on the day. A paid secretary, who is usually a solicitor and is also appointed by the Sheriff, will assist the VAC. The secretary does not take any part in reaching a decision in your case but is there to advise the VAC on legal matters and may take part in the hearing by, eg asking you (or the Assessor) questions.
If you think that your appeal is complicated or highly technical or raises major questions of principle or law, you may wish to consult a chartered surveyor or a solicitor with a view to asking the VAC to refer your appeal to the Lands Tribunal for Scotland. Special rules apply to such cases and you would be well advised to seek independent advice. The Assessor will also be able to provide guidance about such appeals and the relevant timetables. The Assessor may also ask to have an appeal referred to the Lands Tribunal.
Procedures in relation to appeals are set out in detail in “The Valuation Appeal Committee (Procedure in Appeals under the Valuation Acts) (Scotland) Regulations 1995 (SI No 572/1995). Copies may be obtained at main public libraries and can be purchased at HMSO bookshops. Further information is also available in a Scottish Government leaflet, “Non-Domestic (Business) Rates Revaluation 2010 Appeal Procedure”