Businesses up and down the land will be waking up today with the excitement of a six-year-old on Christmas morning. Today, the Valuation Office Agency releases the draft Rateable Value assessments it has made for all of the assessed properties in England and Wales.

Unfortunately, many will not be receiving the gifts that they were hoping for and instead will be facing the prospect of a bleak rates future with increased Rateable Values and therefore increased business rates bills. This is made more pronounced by the fact that, unlike Christmas, a rates revaluation does not come round every year.

The last revaluation took effect in 2010 and was based on 2008 valuations. How the valuation world has changed since then. The 2017 revaluation is based on 2015 valuations. The 2017 list will be current until 2022.

For businesses hoping for a Scalextric set but worried about receiving a lump of coal, the proposed Rateable Values can be obtained online here.

To compound the unwanted gifts, "check, challenge, appeal" looks set to come into force, making challenges to RVs more administrative and harder. Even where the Valuation Office Agency has got the Rateable Value wrong, it is proposed that unless the Rateable Value is essentially a negligent valuation, the actual Rateable Value assessed will remain as the Rateable Value, as opposed to the Rateable Value being the true value of the property.

It will be the case for many businesses that, following publication of the draft list, business rates reform will continue to remain top of their Christmas wish list.