COMPANIES across Kirklees have been urged to beware “cowboy” advisers offering to help them reduce their business rates bills.
The Valuation Office Agency said some unscrupulous rating agents offering to reduce business rates bills ended up charging more in fees than they saved.
Others even claimed to be working on behalf of the VOA to confuse business owners and drum up trade under false pretences.
The VOA is sending out new business rates valuations.
It is urging businesses to check that all the details are correct, as this will form the basis for next year’s rates bills.
The VOA said the valuations were straightforward and could be completed with or without professional help.
The VOA has teamed up with professional bodies that represent rating agents and surveyors, including the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, to produce a fact sheet explaining why new valuations have been sent, what services are available and how to avoid being caught out.
VOA customer services manager Andy Booth said: “Businesses have a choice to employ an expert to check the details of the valuation we send them and see where savings might be made.
“There are many agents who offer a very useful, value for money service.
“However, some others don’t – and we’re often made aware of ratepayers paying for a service that offers them absolutely no benefit.”
RICS spokesman Blake Penfold said: “Unfortunately, there are some companies that are opportunists, taking advantage of business owners who may not have a solid understanding of how their property is valued for business rates or how their bill is calculated.
“We’re keen to ensure that ratepayers have the information they need to make an informed choice, not a mistake.”