Business rates advice - Joint statement of the RICS, IRRV and RSA

The cost of business rates and their administration can be substantial. Ratepayers often need professional advice on establishing their liability and understanding how assessments may be challenged.

There are only three recognised bodies that hold their membership to account regarding the quality of their business rates advice and related ethics – RICS, IRRV and RSA. We urge ratepayers to only take business rates advice from a member of at least one of these bodies.

When issuing terms of engagement, members of these bodies are required to make reference to the joint RICS\IRRV\RSA Rating Consultancy Code of Practice, which requires the ratepayer to sign a formal declaration confirming that they have been made aware of the code and terms should clearly set out the agreed fee basis.

If in any doubt, prior to signing a contract we recommend checking membership with the appropriate body.

There are numerous business rates advice firms and individuals who are not members of a recognised body and may have no recognised standards, training or ethical requirements. RICS, IRRV and the RSA have no authority over these firms and individuals, and we would urge caution in this regard and would not recommend using their services.

A firm or individual claiming to be a “surveyor”, “rating advisor”, “rating consultant” or similar does not automatically mean they are a member of a professional body or in any way accountable or regulated. Always check a firm or individual’s background and professional status prior to signing a contract.

Ratepayers are advised to be careful to understand the cost implications before signing any contracts.

Some ratepayers prefer to undertake their own business rates administration. Applicable reliefs can be claimed directly and information regarding rating assessments can be obtained from the Valuation Office Agency.