Wednesday 20 May 2020 4:21 pm

UK supermarkets win ATM business rates legal battle

UK supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Co-op will not have to pay business rates on ATMs at their stores after winning a long-running legal battle.

The Supreme Court judged today that retailers were not liable to pay business rates on ATMs inside or outside stores.

Read more: Retailers call on government to withdraw ‘disastrous’ business rates bill

The ruling against the Valuation Office Agency will result in hundreds of millions of pounds being repaid to the supermarkets. Real estate advisor Altus group estimated that the retailers could benefit from a £428.7m rebate. 

Cash machines will no longer be subject to separate business rates bills and will instead fall within the property’s overall existing rates liability following the judgement. 

All retail businesses, including supermarkets, are currently entitled to a year-long business rates holiday due to the coronavirus crisis.

John Webber, head of business rates at Colliers International said: “This is a massive relief, not only for the supermarkets involved, but also for the consumers who need access to these machines.

“Many would have suffered if the judgement went the other way and retailers ripped the ATMs out of their stores, to save extra rates bills, denying many in the local community free access to cash.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Business rates holiday granted for all retail and leisure firms

Jerry Schurder, head of business rates at Gerald Eve, who represented Cardtronics in the case, said: “This seven-year battle has resulted in a victory for common sense and we welcome the court’s decision that ATMs shouldn’t attract separate rates bills. 

“ATMs are part of the retail offer of the stores they are situated in and the VOA should never have treated them as separate businesses.”