A number of supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and the Co-op have won a legal ruling on whether they should be liable for business rates on cash machines located on their premises.

The Supreme Court today handed down a judgment in favour of the major supermarkets in what has been a long-running dispute centred around business rates and ATM machines on-site. It means the retailers are in line to recoup hundreds of millions of pounds worth of business rates refunds.

In its findings, the court ruled that retailers are not liable for rates on ATMs after the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) imposed separate rates on ATMs inside and outside stores.

Judge Robert Carnwath said in his ruling published today that the difference between rates on cash machines inside or outside stores was “no greater in principle than that between internal and external ATMs in a bank building”.

The judgment went against the VOA, which bought the case to the Supreme Court after losing in the court of appeal in late 2018.

According to law firm Colliers, there are approximately 40,000 cases related to the ATM business rates issue currently clogging up the appeals system, which it called a “costly nightmare”.

The BRC welcomed the finding and described the verdict as “a victory for common sense”.

BRC property policy advisor Dominic Curran said: “The court’s decision is a victory for common sense. It allows retailers to provide an essential financial service for local communities, without being taxed over £400m to do so, and it will give the industry a much-needed sigh of relief during this time of uncertainty. The case highlights just how broken the business rates system is. We need urgent reform of a tax that disincentivises investment, hampers growth, and harms our economy.”