Our Accurates forensic audit specialists were called in to carry out a range of bespoke specialist ‘anomaly’ searches and scans within our databases and software systems on the company’s portfolio.
Our ‘initiatives’ are able to cover identified rating anomaly issues over the life of each of the 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2005 rating lists. They also include verifying any adjustment/balancing activity carried out by local Revenues officers in respect of historic and current business rate accounts.
Detailed groundwork paves the way for a significant rebate
Our approach in this case was to carefully take apart then re-construct the rate charges for the company’s main site going back to 1990. We then compared our virtual demand notices to the records of the billing authority.
Our systems highlighted a potentially serious anomaly in the methodology for creating the original charging path. However, this did not guarantee in any way that we would achieve a successful cost recovery. There are complex statutory calculations that Billing Authorities are obliged to carry out as a consequence of regulations for the various rating lists.
Having identified the potential non-compliance, more detailed investigative work had to be carried out to ascertain whether this would result in an actual overpayment recovery. Following seven months of discussions and correspondence, the revenues manager eventually agreed with our interpretations of the legislation. An internal report was issued to the Director of Finance (the statutory Section 151 officer) to explain the error that had been made and more importantly to secure the Chief Financial Officer’s authority to refund the overpayment of £1.9 million.