• VOA - Business Rates service

    The Pubs Advisory Service (PAS) offers guidance to pub businesses throughout the UK to determine whether an appeal against their business rating could lead to cost savings.

VOA & Business Rates

PAS has a proven track record of representing and advocating for pub business owners and operators, addressing the various forms of inequality that exist within the industry.

PAS was established with a mission to provide independent and high-quality advice and support to pub business owners and operators enabling them to grow and develop their businesses. PAS has been involved in the Pubs Code etc. Regulations 2016 legislation from the beginning and has represented numerous pub tenants at arbitration.

Pub business owners and operators often find themselves at a disadvantage in commercial relationships, particularly when dealing with landlords and their representatives. This can leave them without the necessary support and representation they need. At PAS, we understand the importance of addressing inequality in all areas of the industry, including the VOA and pub business rates.

Pub Business Rates  

 The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) approach for assessing pub rateable values is considered flawed by many in the industry, producing valuations that are frequently incorrect, punitive and disproportionately high. This approach often runs contrary to the VOA’s statutory obligations.

While the VOA have a statutory duty to value pubs, the method they use is not prescribed in law. “The Valuation of Public House Approved Guide” outlines the VOA’s approach to valuing pub rateable values. According to the VOA, this guide has been approved and endorsed by trade associations in the pub industry.

It is apparent to pub business owners that the VOA is not fulfilling its statutory obligation to accurately assess the rateable values of pubs and is instead producing valuations based on their actual trade and performance.

The VOA approved guide not only results in incorrect valuations but also creates significant problems for pub business owners who wish to challenge or appeal their valuation. Upon further inquiry, the VOA usually acknowledges that the valuation was not conducted correctly in the first instance, and that certain evidence that has been relied upon in support of their valuation can neither be disclosed or proven.

Initiate a Business Rates Review

Before reviewing your pub’s rateable value, we recommend having an initial consultation to ensure that we can provide the necessary assistance. We will cross reference your pub rateable value against our database and interactive map. Our initial consultation is free of charge, and you are under no obligation to continue with our services.

Looking to challenge your business rates?

  • CHECK: Verify that everything on your assessment is correct.
  • CHALLENGE: If you believe there are discrepancies, challenge the assessment.
  • APPEAL: If you need a professional opinion, consider appealing your business rates with the help of Pubs Advisory Service.


The introduction of the Check, Challenge, Appeal process in April 2017 aimed to effectively handle the volume of cases in a transparent manner, enabling ratepayers to make informed decisions on how to proceed.

The 2023 revaluation has been the subject of criticism due to the added requirement for businesses to have a Government Gateway Account, leading to an increased administrative burden. However, PAS can alleviate this burden by acting as your Agent and handling the complexities of the CCA process on your behalf.

To get started, key facts about the pub property must be agreed between the VOA, and the ratepayer, or their Agent. This Check case requires us to carefully consider all factual information relating to the pub property prior to any Challenge against the VOA assessment. The VOA will acknowledge the Check case submission and issue a Check decision notice.

Ratepayers who confirm within four months of receiving the Check decision notice that the property details held by the VOA are accurate can proceed directly to Challenge. The ratepayer or Agent can easily access the confirmation through Government Gateway Account.

After confirming the relevant facts, in order to raise a Challenge case, the rate payer or the Agent will need to submit a comprehensive assessment including a valuation proposal and an evidenced statement. Based on the Challenge submission, the VOA will issue a Challenge decision notice. This Challenge decision notice may result in a reduced assessment if they agree with the proposed valuation.

If the VOA does not agree with the Challenge submission, you have the opportunity to appeal to the Valuation Tribunal (VT).

At the Appeal stage, items that are in dispute are addressed, based on the arguments and evidence that have already been established.

To initiate an Appeal to the Valuation Tribunal (VT), it is mandatory to wait for a Challenge decision notice from the VOA. The appeal must be filed within four months of receiving the challenge decision to request an impartial review by the VT.

In case the matter goes to Appeal, you will have a chance to present your case to an independent panel and question the VOA’s case. The VT should provide a decision 28 days after the Appeal hearing and proceedings.

Before instructing a company for assistance with your business rates check, challenge or appeal, it is crucial to ensure that you are comfortable with the terms they offer.

We are aware of cowboy rating advisors attempting to profit from the revaluation of business rates, and we appreciate the concern many pub business owners may have before engaging with business rate advisors.

If you decide not to engage our services, we recommend business owners thoroughly review the Terms & Conditions before engaging another company or agent to represent their case. Verify if they will charge for savings in future years or for changes that affect the next revaluation. Confirm which rating list the work pertains to and check if the agreement commits you to future revaluations. Determine where any refunds will be sent, whether it is a client account or directly to you.

Please be advised that many rating advisory firms or agents attract clients through ‘no win no fee’ based service agreements, and are seen to be disparaging of firms or agents who choose to charge upfront fees, without a guarantee of success.

While this might appear attractive, please be aware that many ‘no win no fee’ based service providers charge a fee based on a percentage of the total reduction in rateable value achieved. This can sometimes involve a tie-in arrangement, meaning that the business rates advisor may attempt to claim for their fee, based on a percentage of the reduced rateable value, for any reduction in business rates during an extended period, even if they had not contributed to the reduction.