Question to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin)
To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will consider extending the time for appeals of decisions regarding rateable valuations, facilitating all interested parties having a right to appeal; that such appeals should be considered by valuers not previously involved in the matter and, where an appeal is successful, if the new rateable valuation will be backdated to the initial decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
For WRITTEN ANSWER on 08/07/2014
The Government published the Valuation (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2012 on 3rd August 2012 as part of its legislative programme and the Bill proceeded through its second stage in Seanad Éireann on 11th October 2012. The primary purpose of the Bill is to accelerate the national programme of revaluing every commercial and industrial property in the country which is being undertaken by the Valuation Office. In addition, the Bill proposes to amend valuation legislation in a number of areas including the appeal process.
Currently, there are three avenues of redress for an occupier of rateable property who is dissatisfied with a determination made under the provisions of the Valuation Act 2001. However, before a determination is made, and therefore before any of the three avenues of redress are utilised, there is a right to make representations in relation to a proposed valuation. Later in the process there is a right of appeal to the Commissioner following the determination and publication of the valuation, which is known as the first appeal. This is followed by a right of appeal to the independent Valuation Tribunal where the occupier is dissatisfied with the Commissioner’s decision on appeal. Finally, there is a right of appeal to the Higher Courts on a point of law. As a streamlining exercise, the Bill proposes to remove a step from the appeal process (i.e. the first appeal to the Commissioner)but in recognition of this, more time will be given to occupiers of property to make representations before the determination is made. It is proposed to extend the period within which representations can be made in relation to a proposed valuation from 28 to 40 days.
The Valuation Act, 2001 specifies the persons who have a right to appeal a determination to the Commissioner and these include an occupier of the property under appeal; an occupier of relevant property situated in the same local authority area as the property under appeal; a rating authority in respect of any property in its area and a person, in respect of any property in relation to which he or she is an interest holder. The Bill proposes that the same parties will have a right to appeal a determination to the Valuation Tribunal.
Under the current legislative provisions, valuations are determined by “revision officers” appointed by the Commissioner in the case of revision applications and by a “valuation manager” also appointed by the Commissioner where a rating authority area is being revalued. In the event of these valuations being appealed as a first appeal to the Commissioner, the Commissioner (as distinct from a revision officer or an appeal manager) is required under the Valuation Act 2001 to consider each appeal and allow or disallow the appeal as appropriate.
Decisions on appeal have effect from the date of inclusion of the original valuation in the valuation list i.e. retrospection for rating applies to the date of the original determination of valuation which gave rise to the appeal.
Since the second stage debate on the Valuation (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2012 was taken in Seanad Éireann, officials of my Department and the Valuation Office have engaged in an extensive consultation process on various aspects of the Bill with a range of stakeholders. I would hope to see the Bill returning to the Seanad for Committee stage shortly after the summer recess.