Our Accurates forensic audit specialists were initially called into carry out a range of bespoke specialist ‘anomaly’ searches and scans within our databases and software systems on the company’s portfolio.
Although our systems had previously highlighted a serious anomaly in the methodology for creating the original historical charging path, the fact that we had already successfully recovered an overpayment of £1.9million, did not guarantee in any way that we would achieve a further historical rebate.
Specialist approach based on years of experience
The particular technical compliance issue that we were required to resolve was in respect of the regulations regarding liability ‘Collection and Enforcement’ for local lists and the interplay with the ‘Payment of Interest’ Regulations.
The billing authority initially made a determination that the original overpayment should not attract any payment of interest. However, our interpretation of the regulations differed. Indeed it was our opinion that the overpayment for four consecutive retrospective financial years should be subject to interest.
This technical argument related to business rate charges going back 15 years and so faced internal checks and legal scrutiny as to whether the authority could actually refund interest going back so far in time.
We also presented arguments to the Council in an attempt to ensure that the interest payment should not be caught by the Limitations Act.