The man at the head of controversial changes to business rates across the north-east has insisted cases made to fight increases can be settled quickly.
Fears have been raised by firms that pleas made to the Grampian Valuation Joint Board could take years to go through a formal process.
But yesterday Ian Milton, the independent rates assessor for the region, explained some claims could be settled within weeks.
He said: “My office can consider any representations received from those who believe we have got their rateable value incorrect.
“If evidence is presented that indicates the figure is wrong then we will change it and that’s that. We are quite prepared to go over it with people, that’s the way it has been and remains to be.”
Mr Milton explained that if business owners were still not satisfied with the result then they could proceed to a formal appeal.
Yesterday the assessor sat down with Moray MSP Richard Lochhead in Elgin for a fact-finding meeting amid fears firms could be forced to the wall.
Some hospitality firms were facing rises of more than 200% before they were capped at 12.5% in a relief package from the Scottish Government.
Ahead of the talks the politician intended to push for a fast-track appeals process for firms struggling to make ends meet.
But following the meeting the MSP was satisfied businesses are able to challenge rates rises they feel are unfair quickly.
Mr Lochhead said: “Many businesses have expressed real concern they are facing hefty increases in rates valuations, for which they will receive bills from April onwards.
“Some of them may have to wait years for a formal process but it’s clear the assessors are willing to review the cases on an on-going basis.”
The new rates will be finalised on March 15 with notices being sent to firms the following week.
Mr Milton emphasised his staff were willing to discuss individual circumstances with businesses but warned it could take some time to speak to all those affected.
And the assessor explained concerns raised by Lossiemouth firms about their rates rising disproportionately compared to Elgin locations were inevitable in the process.
He said: “There’s always a differential in movement in revaluations – whether it’s between locality or sectors – because we always start afresh.
“The rateable value for properties on Elgin High Street will still be a lot higher than in Lossiemouth though.”