The UK’s high street retailers have scored a major victory in a long-running case over the payment of business rates for ATM’s installed at their stores.
The dispute began after a decision in 2013 to charge separate business rates on cashpoints, which are classed as “non-rateable machinery” and had not previously affected retailers’ overall rates bills.
Under the new regime, retailers were charged an average of £3000 per machine, with bills backdated to 2010.
Now the Court of Appeals has ruled that retailers must be refunded £300 million in charges paid, under a last-ditch appeal against the fees brought by two off the UK’s biggest supermarket chains, Tesco and Sainsbury’s.
Mark Aldred, banking specialist at Auriga, welcomed the decision: “As banks close their branches and leave communities financially isolated, we need to ensure that businesses which operate ATMs are able to do so cost effectively. With this welcome relief from the prospect of extra costs, businesses that have ATM machines can think about how to prove their value and offer even more to the local community. With the right technology they can offer basic banking services and community services such as bill payment, opening accounts and organising loans, making them key to financial access in the future.”