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
Highland businesses can also make contact with the team by email at:
email@example.com or by telephone on 01463 702984.
Application forms and guidance for relief or remission regarding non-domestic rates can be found at:
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.
With Storm Caroline hitting the Highlands yesterday, today's heavy snowfall and the forecast for a drop in temperatures over the next 48 hours, the Highland Council's crews and winter vehicles have been busy in action. The fleet includes 105 gritters, 42 footpath tractors and over the coming months 200 plus staff will be providing winter maintenance services.
Wick Campus, including Wick High School, Newtonpark Primary School and High Life Highland Leisure facilities will remain closed on Friday 8 December 2017. The closure is due to high winds during Storm Caroline today which caused some damage to part of the roof of the Wick campus gym, causing the metal flashing around a roof light to become detached.
Following the high winds forecast and experienced this week due to Storm Caroline, The Highland Council is encouraging landowners to check trees and vegetation near to public roads which may have been damaged. Roads affected by fallen trees this morning were near Beauly; Achnagarron near Invergordon and Lochaber which staff are clearing.
The high winds during Storm Caroline today have caused some damage to part of the roof of the Wick campus gym, causing the metal flashing around a roof light to become detached. The school was already closed to pupils today due to the adverse weather.
Road condition reports by The Highland Council's Community Services for the morning of Thursday 7 December 2017 are as follows: Caithness and Sutherland: Most roads are affected by snow and ice. Treatment in progress.
The Highland Council expresses its deep disappointment at the news of further branch closures by the Royal Bank of Scotland. Leader of the Highland Council Margaret Davidson said: "This will cause real difficulties for many customers and small businesses.
Highland consumers who have lost money to a scam involving payment through Western Union wire transfer between 1st January 2004 and 19th January 2017, are being encouraged by Highland Council Trading Standards to file a claim for a refund with America's Federal Trade Commission in a bid to get some or if not all of their money back. In January 2017, Western Union agreed to pay $586 million for turning a blind eye to scammers and other criminals who used its service to trick customers into paying for bogus prizes, loans, jobs, discounted products and other financial rewards in exchange for money upfront.
The Highland Council and Department for Work and Pensions are implementing plans to improve accessibility to their services. This joint venture will see the jobcentre staff co-locating with the Council and other services in the council's new modern office developments in both Fort William and Wick.
City-region deal investment means that Inverness can now be branded a digital city. Ness WiFi, a free WiFi service, which was successfully piloted earlier this year, has now been rolled out across Inverness city centre, extending to and including areas such as the High Street, the Castle, Eden Court, and the bus and railway stations.
Leisure and cultural venues currently run by council arm's-length bodies will continue to benefit from charity relief from non-domestic rates. Following lengthy consultation with stakeholders, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay today confirmed that the Scottish Government will not be accepting the recommendation of the Barclay Review to end this benefit.
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