UK Supreme Court rules in favour of retailers in ATM business rate battle.

The UK Supreme Court has upheld a decision that ATMs are not liable for business rates.

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA), an executive agency of HMRC, had tried to classify ATMs in supermarkets and other businesses a separate a property.

These rates cost businesses with onsite ATMs – including supermarkets, post offices and convenience stores – £430 million in additional costs.

In November 2018, the Court of Appeal ruled that ATMs within existing properties should not be subject to separate business rates bills.

Today’s unanimous Supreme Court ruling follows aValuation Office Agency (VOA) appeal of the 2018’s Court of Appeal ruling.

Real estate advisory firm Altus Group says that affected retailers will receive £428.69 million in reimbursement of erroneous bills in England and Wales sent out since 2010 – covering some 15,000 ATMs.

James Lowman, Chief Executive of the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), said: “This is a landmark ruling from the Supreme Court which will have huge impact on our sector and will help maintain widespread access to cash. Local shops provide the communities that they serve with vital services, including access to cash, but it had become increasingly difficult for retailers to host ATMs with the high cost of business rates and cuts to interchange fees.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said that the Supreme Court’s ruling was “a victory for common sense”. BRC property advisor Dominic Curran said: “It allows retailers to provide an essential financial service for local communities, without being taxed over £400 million to do so, and it will give the industry a much needed sigh of relief during this time of uncertainty.”