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Highland Council Trading Standards - Non-domestic rates reduction scams warning

11th April 2016

Highland Council Trading Standards have warned of - rates reduction - firms who are targeting local businesses.

The Highland Councils Finance Service raised concerns when they began to receive calls from Highland businesses about receiving unsolicited marketing letters. Some local businesses had received letters suggesting that they could receive a large reduction in non-domestic rates and in some instances that a back dated refund of this charge could be available by submitting an appeal. The letter included that the services provided would attract a fee.

Highland Council's Trading Standards team want to advise businesses to be cautious of such claims made by companies that state that they can secure big reductions in business rates. Local businesses should always ask for confirmation of such claims in writing and if the company refuses to supply this, then the message is clear.....dont go ahead. In all calls that the Council has received from businesses in response to such letters to date, no refunds or reduction in rates have been applicable.

Team Leader David MacKenzie said: Businesses would not have to pay a fee in order to ask for their rates to be reviewed. Such a request should be lodged with their local council. We are concerned that local businesses may be duped into paying for something that they can obtain free of charge from their local council.

Allan Gunn, Head of Revenues and Business Support of the Councils Finance Service added: Local Highland businesses can receive free advice and information on how their non-domestic rates are calculated for their business properties and their rates can be reviewed if circumstances should change. We would urge local Highland businesses to contact us directly for free and confidential advice if they have any queries regarding their current rates.

Highland Council Non-Domestic Rates Team can be contacted in writing at:
Non-Domestic Rates Team
The Highland Council
PO Box 5650
Inverness
IV3 5YX

Highland businesses can also make contact with the team by email at:
nondomesticrates@highland.gov.uk or by telephone on 01463 702984.

Application forms and guidance for relief or remission regarding non-domestic rates can be found at:
www.highland.gov.uk/nondomesticrates

Further guidance regarding Scotland Valuation Rolls & Council Tax Lists can be found online from: Scottish Assessors Association at: http://www.saa.gov.uk/

Highland Council Trading Standards further adds that businesses should ALWAYS be suspicious if asked to pay large sums of money up front, especially for something that can be applied for free. Concerned Highland business can visit or write to: The Highland Council Trading Standards Service, 38 Harbour Road, Inverness IV1 1UF or contact by telephone on 01463/228700 for further advice.

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