ATM and business rates

Large retailers have recently won a legal battle with the VOA over their business rates liability for ATMs located on their property.

As is often the case, the ATM supplier and the retailer are not the same company, so the VOA have been billing business rates separately for the ATM. Each ATM site has been allocated with a separate business rates liability. This liability works out at approximately £3,000 per year although for some locations with several machines such as a site in Liverpool the business rates liability can be over £20,000.

The court of appeal ruling

If an ATM is located outside the premises say for instance as many are on an outer wall of the retailer then an additional business rate charge isn’t applicable. The full ruling can be found here http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/... ruling follows the decision by government back in 2013 to charge separately for ATMs located outside of retailers as a ‘hole-in-the-wall’. The payments requested from retailers were backdated to April 2010

The ruling was made on the grounds that the retailer retains ‘general control’ of the ATM and evidence was provided to back up this statement.

Refunds

The ruling means that retailers with an ATM on their land will not be charged a separate amount. Any additional business that have paid a separate business rates bill for ATMs located on their property will be due a refund. The refunds due to retailers are estimated to amount to £500m

What next?

The refunds will come from both central Government and local authority budgets, this comes at a time when local authorities are already stretched and will obviously have to find the money from somewhere to pay the refunds due.

An appeal?

The VOA are expected to appeal the ruling and have been granted permission to do so in the Supreme Court and have 28 days in which to launch an appeal, we will certainly be keeping our eyes peeled for what the future holds.

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