First Published in IRRV Insight Sept 2021 edition
It was over a year ago we announced that for the first time ever Local Authorities had access to a fully automated solution that identified both council tax properties and non-domestic properties which did not appear on either the banding list or rating list.
A lot has happened in that time, not least Local Authorities having to deal with the onslaught of COVID, meaning a lot of planned technology implementations and investments had to take a back seat, while staff were seconded to different roles. Some Authorities however, have managed to proceed, with a number investing in NEXUS and yielding some great results.
Generating additional tax revenue
One Authority in Kent identified 5 commercial properties not on the rating list that were subsequently added and backdated to 1st April 2017 resulting in additional billing of over £1.2 million as well as identifying properties not on the council tax valuation list. One home was backdated to 1st April 2013 and the other to 29th March 2019 resulting in an additional amount of over £27,000 being billed when factoring in the New Homes Bonus
NEXUS identifies all types of properties that are missing from the list, such as missed new builds, properties deleted due to renovation that have not been added back in when complete and properties which have historically never been included on the lists.
Results being generated by NEXUS
It is a great tool for assisting in maximising the tax base with little Council input and effort required and also the very first automated solution to identify both commercial and domestic properties. Some other recent examples include a self-contained annex above a garage in Yorkshire as being missing from the banding list and a solicitor’s office in London with a rateable value of £24,250 from 1st April 2017. It has also been used to find a new build Band D property in the North West which enabled additional billing of £14,000 backdated to the year of build which was 2011. Feedback from clients has been great with one Authority even winning an award and shortlisted for several others based on some of the outputs NEXUS has yielded for them.
Nexus Successes Video
Nick Scott, Operations Manager at the Kent Intelligence Network (KIN) comments “NEXUS is a combination of innovation and simplicity which is helping the KIN to maximise income for all the Kent authorities. What goes on behind the scenes to match a plethora of datasets is a complicated process but what the system presents is simply a list of properties that may be missing from the respective lists. The output then requires further investigation at our end but the results we’ve achieved in such a short space of time have been incredible.”
Ongoing development of NEXUS
The development team have also been hard at work making ongoing improvements to algorithm matches, improving how non rateable land and property is filtered in the system and how different postcodes are handled between datasets. The latest version of the system is also focussed on minimising the amount of false positive matches by expanding the number of datasets it pulls data from including the land registry, royal mail records, estate agents’ listings and more. It means that clients are more likely to yield revenue from the results that are returned and less time is wasted investigating matches that are unlikely to be correct.
Further plans are underway for development with a new mapping system being implemented to improve the accuracy of visual matches as well as enabling users to view polygons and land parcels and identify where properties may overlap Council boundaries.
NEXUS Professional a valuer focussed solution
The optional Managed Service approach has also proven popular, meaning that Local Authorities minimise the amount of resource and input required to use the service and yield the necessary results. Similarly for those Authorities seeking a more all-encompassing package we have launched NEXUS Professional a valuer focussed solution, in conjunction with Wilks Head & Eve. NEXUS Professional focusses not solely on the missing properties but also improving the identification of the more subtle and complex instances of underbilling in the areas of business rates.
Yvonne Brown, Council Tax Team Leader at London Borough of Enfield goes on to say “Nexus has provided us with a simple cost-effective way of identifying properties missing from our lists. The comprehensive reports sent to us for each property located makes it very easy for us to raise reports to the Valuation Office, with minimal investigation at our end. We receive reports in small batches that are easily dealt with and are very happy with the results so far.”