Rates are a tax levied by council. Their purpose is to support the council in providing services for the benefit of all residents. Rates help pay for:
- waste and recycling collection & disposal
- animal control
- community safety initiatives
- street lighting and cleaning
- local roads, footpaths and drainage
- stormwater disposal services
- operation of halls, centres and libraries
- maintenance of parks, playgrounds and sportsgrounds
- youth, family and senior services
- community events
State Government charges for a range of services including fire service, planning other works, programs and facilities. Rates are normally made up of a general rate and a service rate and/or charge. The rights and responsibilities of ratepayers and councils are set out in Part 9 of the Local Government Act 1993.
A general rate is a ‘progressive’ tax, reflecting the land, capital or Assessed Annual Value (AAV) of property. It may involve an additional fixed charge which applies equally to every property. A council may make a general rate whether or not it provides any services to the land upon which the rating is made.
Service rate or charge
A council may make a service rate for any, all, or a combination of the following services:
- waste management
- stormwater removal
- fire protection
- a community medical service
- an on-site wastewater treatment or disposal system requiring a permit
- any other prescribed service.
The service rate is also ‘progressive’, being determined by the same property value as the general rate. Councils may set a minimum amount payable for a service rate if it does not include a fixed charge. Councils may levy a service charge in addition to, or instead of , making a service charge. A service charge is a fixed charge payable on each property. The charge may differ in various parts of the municipal area depending on the type of service being provided and the circumstances in a particular area. If a service is not provided or is unavailable, the prescribed rate or charge for that service may not apply.
A council may make a separate rate in respect of any land or class of land within its municipal area. This may occur where, in Council’s opinion, there is a need to plan, carry out, make available, maintain or improve anything on behalf of the affected land, or owners or occupiers of that land.
If a council decides to make a separate rate it must undertake a consultation process with the ratepayers of the affected land.
A separate rate may only be made for a five year period before it is subject to a review process and further consultation with affected ratepayers.
Generally, owners of land have to pay rates. Occupiers of land may pay the rates in exceptional circumstances. They may do so with the written consent of the owners. If someone other than the owner is paying the rates then the council has to be notified accordingly.
Rates are paid periodically by a due date or dates set by each council. A rates notice is posted to ratepayers, allowing approximately 30 days before payment of the entire amount is due, or, if payment is by instalments, at least 30 days before the first payment is due.
Instalment Due Dates
- 1st Instalment – 15 August
- 2nd Instalment – 31 October
- 3rd Instalment – 31 January
- 4th Instalment – 30 April
A council may allow rates to be paid by instalments instead of in one payment. You should check with council what arrangements are possible and the dates by which instalments are to be paid. These will be notified in a rates notice issued to each ratepayer.
If a ratepayer fails to pay any instalment by the date on which the rates are due, the council may require the ratepayer to pay the full amount owing.
You will find these methods listed on your notice or fine, and include payment options:
- in person at the Civic Centre, 15 Channel Hwy, Kingston;
- by mail to Kingborough Council, Locked Bag 1, Kingston 7050 (cheques should be made payable to Kingborough Council and marked Not Negotiable)
- at any post office
- by phone on 1300 886 451 (24 hour service)
- via MyPost Digital Mailbox
- via BPAY through your bank
- online via BPOINT
- via Centrepay at Centrelink
- by direct debit (download a direct debit application form (PDF), or collect one at the council offices or by phoning 03 6211 8205).
If you wish to check your rates balance, please contact your council on 03 6211 8205 during office hours.
Under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1993, a ratepayer may apply to a council for remission of all or part of the rates paid or payable, subject to a range of criteria. To be entitled to apply, the Local Government (Rates and Charges Remissions) Act 1991 requires that a ratepayer must be an eligible pensioner or hold a health care card and must have their name on the title and occupy the property as his or her principle dwelling on or prior to 1 July of the rating year.
To be an eligible pensioner you must have:
- a Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card; or
- a Department of Veteran’s Affairs Repatriation Health “Gold Card” which bears the inscription “War Widow ” or “TPI”; or
- an Australian Government Health Care Card. Please note that holders of a Seniors Health Care Card are not eligible.
Applications for rates remissions must be received by the council prior to 31 March in the year following eligibility. Pensioners already receiving a remission do not need to re-apply as it should be included on their rates notice.
A ratepayer who is having difficulty in paying rates should contact their local council at the earliest opportunity to arrange a payment schedule that is agreeable both to the Council and the ratepayer. This is essential to avoid council taking legal action to recover the outstanding rates.
A ratepayer may also apply to council to defer the payment of rates on the grounds of hardship. An application has to be in writing and must be lodged with the council’s General Manager. A council may grant or refuse a deferral application. Any granted deferral may be subject to a condition that the ratepayer pay interest and penalty on the amount due.
If a ratepayer does not pay the rates on his or her property a council may commence legal action against the ratepayer to recover the outstanding amount. If council takes such legal action the ratepayer may also be liable for the council’s legal costs associated with the action.
If rates, or any one rates instalment, are not paid on or before they fall due, the council may impose a penalty not exceeding 10% of the amount owing, and/or charge a daily interest rate determined by the council.
If rates are not paid for a period exceeding three years, the council may sell a property or part of a property to recover the unpaid rates. The council can sell it by public auction or by direct sale.
If the owner of a property cannot be found, the council may apply to have that property transferred to the council.
Kingborough’s rapid growth means that Council’s stormwater infrastructure is no longer able to cope with demand. The issues go beyond the connection which removes stormwater from those properties connected to a piped system. If stormwater is not managed properly it can cause damage by flooding through private property, over roads and adjacent to major waterways, which affects the whole municipality. As well as flood damage, stormwater causes significant degradation of natural waterways by increasing rates of erosion and stormwater is a major cause of pollution in the River Derwent and D’Entrecasteaux Channel. Typical works by Council in waterways include flood mitigation and erosion control/bank stabilisation.
The Stormwater Rate has been levied due to a specific need and it may be required for a number of years.
Typical stormwater infrastructure jobs by Council include installation and upgrade of culverts and piped systems. Installation of a culvert under a road will often cost between $50,000 and $150,000. Stormwater pipes can cost anywhere between $300 and $850/metre to install depending on size and location. The levy will raise around $950,000 and the 2017-18 capital expenditure on stormwater projects is budgeted to increase from $1 million to $1.9 million.