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  Council » Rates » Rates remission and postponement

Rates remission and postponement

image of coinsOn this page: Remission of rates for: sporting and recreational organisations; for community organisations; Maori freehold land; land protected for biodiversity; Lake Taupo lakebed; targeted rates for urban land in areas classified as rural; commercial or industrial areas; Waihou/Piako scheme catchment rate; rating units with a capital valuation of $1,000 or less; Public Transport Rate;Rates postponement policy; Remission of uncollectible rates; Remission of penalties; General remission policy; Policy on early payment of rates postponement of rates; more information

In some circumstances you may be eligible to apply for whole or part remission or postponement of your rates. You will need to submit a written request for remission, including any required information you need to provide to support your application.

Remission requirements

Remission of rates for sporting and recreational organisations

1.1 Objectives

The remission of rates for sporting and recreational organisations is to facilitate the ongoing provision of non-commercial sporting and recreational opportunities. The purpose of granting rates remission to an organisation is to recognise the public good contribution and to assist the organisations survival.

1.2 Criteria and conditions

The council may remit any rates where the application meets the following criteria:

  1. Rates set and assessed on land which, but for the existence of a club licence under the sale of Liquor Act 1989, would be assessed as 50 per cent non-rateable under Schedule 1 Part 2, 2 of the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002
  2. This policy excludes any land treated as 50 percent non-rateable under Schedule 1 Part 2 of the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002
  3. The policy will apply to land used exclusively or principally for sporting and/or recreational purposes. This policy will not apply to organisations operated for private pecuniary profit.

Rating units that qualify are eligible for a remission of 50 percent of all rates levied.

All remissions are at the discretion of the council and will be assessed on a case by case basis. The council (at its absolute discretion) shall determine the extent of public benefits that are provided to the community and the reasonableness of any rate imposed. This shall be the basis for deciding eligibility for remission.

Organisations must apply in writing and should include the following documents in support of their application:

  1. Constitution
  2. Statement of objectives
  3. Full financial accounts
  4. Information on activities and programmes
  5. Details of membership or clients.

Other information may also be required.

The council reserves the right to require annual applications to renew the remission or require certification from the applicant that the property is still eligible for the remission and that the land use has not changed.

Applications for remission under this part of the policy will be determined by officers of council, acting under delegated authority from the council, as specified in the delegations resolution. The policy will apply from the beginning of the rating year in which each application is made and will not be backdated.

Remission of rates for community organisations

2.1 Objectives:

To facilitate the ongoing provision of community services that meet the needs of the residents of the region. The purpose of granting rates remission to an organisation is to recognise the public good contribution and to assist the organisations survival.

2.2 Criteria and conditions

The council may remit up to 100 percent of rates levied where the application meets the following criteria:

  1. The policy will apply to land owned, occupied or used by community organisations which have within their constitution appropriate clauses to qualify them as charities or where there are clauses which ensure they are not-for-profit and where there is, in the opinion of the council, significant public good which results from the occupation of the land for the purpose of community services.
  2. The policy will not apply to organisations operated for private pecuniary profit.
  3. The policy will not apply to rest homes and retirement villages. This exclusion is to ensure fairness and consistency for ratepayers who continue to live in their own homes.
  4. All remissions are at the discretion of the council and will be assessed on a case by case basis. The council (at its absolute discretion) shall determine the extent of public benefits that are provided to the community and the reasonableness of any rate imposed. In determining public benefit, consideration will be given to the public availability of the service and the extent of voluntary effort to run the organisation. This shall be the basis for deciding eligibility for remission.
  5. Organisations making application should include the following documents in support of their application:
    1. Constitution
    2. Statement of objectives
    3. Full financial accounts
    4. Information on activities and programmes
    5. Details of membership or clients.

    Other information may also be required.

  6. The council reserves the right to require annual applications to renew the remission or require certification from the applicant that the property is still eligible for the remission and that the land use has not changed.

Applications for remission under this part of the policy will be determined by officers of council, acting under delegated authority from the council, as specified in the delegations resolution. The policy will apply from the beginning of the rating year in which each application is made and will not be backdated.

Remission and postponement of rates on Maori freehold land

3.1 Objectives
The objectives of this remission and postponements policy are:

  1. to recognise situations where there is no occupier, trustee or person gaining an economic or financial benefit from the land
  2. to recognise matters related to the physical accessibility of the land
  3. to recognise and take account of the presence of waahi tapu that may affect the use of the land for other purposes
  4. where part of a block is occupied, to grant remission to the portion of land not occupied
  5. to enable the council to act fairly and reasonably.

3.2 Criteria and conditions

The council will consider remission or postponement of rates, in whole or in part, for Maori freehold land as determined by the Maori Land Court, owned by more than two persons. To qualify for remission or postponement the property must comply with the following criteria:

No income or economic benefit is derived from the use or occupation of that land; and

  1. the land is inaccessible or
  2. the land is unoccupied, or
  3. the land is the unoccupied portion of a block where only a portion is occupied.

3.3 Applications for remissions

Owners or trustees making application should include the following information in their applications:

  1. details of the property including valuation number 
  2. the objectives that will be achieved by providing a remission
  3. documentation which proves the land which is the subject of the application is Maori freehold land, including a schedule of owners.

Application for remission or postponement of rates on Maori freehold land should be made after the commencement of the rating year. Applications may be back dated. The council staff may apply for remission or postponement on behalf of the owners.

Remission or postponement, and the extent thereof is at the sole discretion of the council and may be cancelled or reduced at any time. The council will maintain a register of properties for which remission or postponement is granted. It will review this register annually and may:

  1. add properties that comply
  2. remove properties where the circumstance has changed and they no longer apply.

Applications for remission under this part of the policy will be determined by officers of the council, acting under delegated authority from the council, as specified in the delegations resolution.

Remission of rates on land protected for biodiversity

4.1 Objective

To enable council to assist landowners who have retired land solely for conservation purposes.

4.2 Criteria

This policy encourages landowners to maintain, enhance and protect heritage features by offering a financial incentive.

The following ratepayers may qualify for remission of rates on rating units that:

  1. Part or all of the rating unit has a:
    1. QEII covenant under section 22 of the Queen Elizabeth the Second National Trust Act 1977 registered on their certificate(s) of title; or 
    2. part or all of the rating unit has Nga Whenua Rahui kawenata under Section 27a of the Conservation Act 1987.; 

    Where Waikato Regional Council holds information relating to lands subject to a QEII covenant or Nga Whenua Rahui kawenata, staff acting under delegated authority may apply this remission on the ratepayer’s behalf.

    The amount of the remission will be calculated based on the proportion of the rating unit protected under any part of (a) listed above.

    The remission will apply to all rates charged to the rating unit. However, if there is a dwelling on the property, the Uniform Annual General Charge will not be remitted. (HERE)

  2. Part or all of the rating unit was previously designated as part of the proposed lakeshore reserve scheme.

    Waikato Regional Council may remit rates on these rating units where the Taupo District Council has remitted some or all of the territorial authority rates for the rating unit in the current rating year. Applicants may be asked to provide evidence of the Taupo District Council remission.

    Remission will only be granted on the portion of the property previously designated as part of the proposed lakeshore reserve scheme.

    Applications for remission under parts a) and b) of this policy will be determined by officers of council, acting under delegated authority from the council, as specified in the delegations resolution. The policy will apply from the beginning of the rating year in which the application is made, although the council may consider backdating past the rating year in which the application is made depending on the circumstances.

  3. Part or all of the rating unit is designated as a Significant Natural Area (SNA) with a significance level of national or international in the relevant District Plan and / or Schedule associated with the District Plan.

    A mechanism must be in place which provides for the enduring protection of the land concerned, such as:

    • a conservation covenant under section 77 of the Reserves Act 1977;
    • a declaration of protected private land under section 76 of the Reserves Act 1977;
    • a management agreement for conservation purposes under section 38 of the Reserves Act 1977;
    • a covenant for conservation purposes under section 27 of the Conservation Act 1987;
    • a management agreement for conservation purposes under section 29 of the Conservation Act 1987;
    • a covenant with the local council which has the effect of preserving the land for conservation purposes;
    • a Memorandum of Encumbrance linked to an Environmental Programme Agreement via the regional council;
    • any other covenant or agreement which in the opinion of Council provides enduring protection for the land.

Criteria
Applications for remission under this provision must be made in writing by the ratepayer, and supported by the following documentation:

  1. an aerial photograph or map of the area(s) that the remission is requested for; and
  2. evidence of the legal protection mechanism; and
  3. evidence of fencing to exclude stock from the SNA.

The remission will apply to all rates charged to the SNA area. However, if there is a dwelling on the property, the Uniform Annual General Charge will not be remitted.

The council will delegate authority to approve applications for remission on SNAs to particular officers as set out in the council’s delegations resolution.

Application for rates remissions must be made prior to the commencement of the rating year (1 July). Any applications made during a rating year will be considered for remission at the commencement of the following rating year. Any remissions granted will not be backdated.

SNAs where remission is granted may be subject periodically to audit either by on the ground inspection or by analysis of aerial photography to ensure that the condition of the SNA is at least maintained and that stock proof fencing remains in place.

Remission of rates for Lake Taupo lakebed 

5.1 Objectives

  • To continue to provide ratepayers with an incentive to maintain Lake Taupo in a natural state.
  • To recognise the special characteristics and value of Lake Taupo to the region.

5.2 Criteria and conditions

  • Remission is available to the Lake Taupo lakebed land where the title for that land is in private ownership and the owners recognise the significance of public access to the lake and environs and operate the land as if it was a public reserve.
  • One hundred per cent remission of all rates and charges shall be given to qualifying rating units.
  • Applications for remission under this policy will be determined by officers of council, acting under delegated authority from the council, as specified in the delegations resolution.

Remission of targeted rates for urban land in areas classified as rural, commercial or industrial areas

6.1 Objective

To ensure that owners of residential rating units situated in areas classified as rural, commercial or industrial for the purposes of targeted rates are treated equitably with comparable rating units elsewhere in the district.

6.2 Criteria and conditions

To qualify for consideration for remission under this part of the policy, the rating unit must be in an area zoned as ‘urban’ under the territorial authority district plan and have a targeted rate classification of rural, industrial or commercial.

Those ratepayers wishing to claim remission under this part of the policy must make an application in writing. Applications may be backdated.

The council will delegate authority to approve applications for remission of targeted rates for urban land in areas classified as rural, commercial or industrial areas to particular officers as set out in the council's delegations resolution.

Applications for remission under this part of the policy will be determined by officers of council, acting under delegated authority from the council, as specified in the delegations resolution.

If an application is approved, the council will direct its valuation service provider or classifier to inspect the rating unit and prepare a report to determine what rate would be assessed if the rating unit were appropriately classified. This report shall be the basis on which remission shall be calculated. As a condition of approval the ratepayer may be required to contribute to the cost of this report. Ratepayers should note that the valuation service provider’s or classifier’s decision is final, as there are no statutory right of objection or appeal for remissions assessed in this way.

Remission of the Waihou/Piako scheme catchment rate 

7.1 Objective

Where land is still in its undeveloped state or has reverted to indigenous bush or swamp cover, or has been planted in exotic forests, it is considered to have a neutral effect on rates of rainfall runoff. In addition the land improves the biodiversity within the catchment and retention of this land use is encouraged by Council.

7.2 Criteria and Conditions

Remission will be considered for a rating unit where areas of land are still in an undeveloped state and/or reverted to native bush or swamp cover and/or planted in exotic forest.

This remission will be applied to the land value portion of the targeted catchment rate where the area is 10 hectares or more and stock excluded

Applications must be made in writing and be supported by an aerial photograph or map of the area(s) that the remission is requested for.

Applications for remission under this part of the policy will be determined by officers of council, acting under delegated authority from the council, as specified in the delegations resolution.

Remission of rates on rating units with a capital valuation of $1,000 or less

8.1 Objective

To allow the council to act fairly, reasonably and efficiently where rating units have capital valuations of $1,000 or less.

8.2 Criteria and conditions

Rating units that have a registered capital value of $1000 or less held in the District Valuation Roll as at 30 June for the current rating year are eligible for remission of rates.

The remission applied will be 100 per cent of all Waikato Regional Council Rates that have been assessed for the rating unit. Staff acting under delegated authority may apply this remission on the ratepayer’s behalf.

 

Remission of the Public Transport Rate

9.1 Objective

To allow the council to act fairly and reasonably in applying the Public Transport rate differentials, reflecting the maximum benefit assessed as being received by property owners.

9.2 Criteria and conditions

Public Transport Indirect Benefit rate

  1. A remission of a portion of the Public Transport Indirect Benefit rate will be granted to those properties with a capital value greater than $2.5 million, and which are only paying the indirect rate (that is they are located further than 800 metres of a bus route). The remission will be applied to the portion of the rate where the value exceeds $2.5 million. Remission will be applied by staff prior to the annual rates invoices being issued.
  2. A remission of the Public Transport Indirect Benefit (rail) rate will be granted to those properties with a capital value greater than $2.5 million irrespective of their location. The remission will be applied to the portion of the rate where the value exceeds $2.5 million. Remission will be applied by staff prior to the annual rates invoices being issued.


Public Transport Direct Benefit rate


A remission of the Public Transport Direct Benefit rate will be granted to those properties where:

  • There is no established footpath in place between their property and the nearest bus route, and
  • Where these residents are required to travel through an 80 kilometre per hour speed zone in order to reach the nearest bus route.

Those properties eligible for remission will be assessed by staff, based on information provided by Hamilton City Council, with the remission to be applied prior to the annual rates invoices being issued.

 Rates postponement policy

10.1 Objective

To give ratepayers a choice between paying rates now or later subject to the full cost of postponement being met by the ratepayer and the council being satisfied that the risk of loss in any case is minimal.


10.2 General approach

Only rating units defined as residential and used for personal residential purposes by the applicant(s) will be eligible for consideration of rates postponement under the criteria and conditions of this policy.

Current and all future rates may be postponed indefinitely until the sale of the property, if at least one ratepayer (or, if the ratepayer is a family trust, at least one named occupier) is 65 years of age or older. Where the ratepayer is younger than 65, current and all future rates may be postponed to a date not more than 15 years from 30 June in the rating year in which application is made. 

Owners of units in retirement villages will be eligible provided that the council is satisfied payment of postponed rates can be adequately secured.

The council will add to the postponed rates all financial and administrative costs to ensure neutrality.

10.3 Criteria and conditions

    1. Criteria
      1. Eligibility

        Any ratepayer is eligible for postponement provided that the rating unit is used by the ratepayer for personal residential purposes (whether as a principal residence or as a holiday home). This includes, in the case of a family trust owned property, use by a named individual or couple. People occupying a unit in a retirement village under an occupation licence will be able to apply for postponement of the rates payable by the retirement village on their unit with the agreement of the owner of the retirement village.

      2. Risk

        The council must be satisfied, on reasonable assumptions, that the risk of any shortfall when postponed rates and accrued charges are ultimately paid is negligible. To determine this, an actuary has been engaged to develop a model that will forecast expected equity when repayment falls due.

        Where a ratepayer wishes to postpone both this council’s rates and those of another territorial authority, council reserves the right to make actuarial calculations to include both authority rates to ensure a final 20 per cent equity is maintained. Each authority will make its own independent decision as to postponement and if any shortfall of payment should eventually occur, each authority will share on a pro rata basis.

      3. Insurance

        The property must be insured for its full value and evidence of this produced annually.

      4. Mortgage

        Postponement of rates on a property subject to a mortgage will be available only if council holds a letter from the mortgagee agreeing to the postponement.

      5. Independent advice

        Applicants will be referred to an appropriately qualified and trained independent agency. The agency will work with applicant to ensure they are aware of all aspects of the policy before deciding to proceed with postponement. Confirmation that this advice has been sought will be required by the council before postponement is granted.

      6. Security

        Postponed rates will be registered as a statutory land charge on the rating unit title. This means that the council will have first call on the proceeds of any revenue from the sale or lease of the rating unit.

        Postponement will not be granted if a statutory land charge cannot be registered on the rating unit title.

        Council has the right to decline postponement if the property is situated in a known hazard zone.

    2. Conditions

      Any postponed rates (under this policy) will be postponed until:

      1. The death of the ratepayer(s) or named individual or couple (in this case the council will allow up to 12 months for payment so that there is ample time available to settle the estate) or
      2. Until the ratepayer(s) ceases to be the owner or occupier of the rating unit (in this case council, at its discretion, may allow up to 12 months for payment to allow time to make payment arrangements) or
      3. Until a date specified by the council.
    3. Postponement of territorial authority and regional council rates

      Where the ratepayer is seeking to postpone rates assessed by both the regional council and the territorial authority, the combined impact of the postponement must be considered when assessing the application against the criteria set out above. To give best effect to this, the council will work with the territorial authority to ensure that a single process is used to gather the information that will support the postponement application. The independent advice sought by the ratepayer will be required to consider the combined rates, and will be provided to both councils to assess prior to the approval of any postponement.

    4. Fees

      Application fee

      An application fee will be charged in accordance with the fees outlined in the Funding Impact Statement. This will be added to postponed rates.

      Financial costs

      The financial cost will be charged in accordance with the rate outlined in the Funding Impact Statement. This will be added to postponed rates.

      Payment

      The postponed rates or any part thereof may be paid at any time. The applicant may elect to postpone the payment of a lesser sum than that which they would be entitled to have postponed pursuant to this policy.

    5. Review or suspension of policy 

      The policy is in place indefinitely and can be reviewed subject to the requirements of the Local Government Act 2002 at any time. Any resulting modification will not change the entitlement of people already in the scheme in relation to previously postponed rates, however if the scheme was suspended the ratepayer would be required to pay future rates. The council reserves the right not to postpone any further rates once the total of postponed rates and accrued charges exceeds 80 per cent of the rateable value of the property as recorded in the council’s rating information database. This will require the ratepayer(s) for that property to pay all future rates but will not require any payment in respect of rates postponed up to that time. These will remain due for payment on death or sale. 

      The policy consciously acknowledges that future changes in policy could include withdrawal of the postponement option.

    6. Procedures

      1. Applications must be on the required form that will be available from any council office.
      2. The policy will apply from the beginning of the rating year in which the application is made, although the council may consider backdating past the rating year in which the application is made depending on the circumstances.

Applications for postponement under this part of the policy will be determined by officers of the council, acting under delegated authority from the council, as specified in the delegations resolution.

Remission of uncollectible rates

11.1 Objective

To allow for situations where all practicable methods of enforcing rates collection have been exhausted and it is in the Council's financial interests to remit such rates.

11.2 Criteria and conditions

All rates both arrears and current including any targeted rates will be remitted where council considers the objective will be achieved in so doing. This policy will be applied at council instigation.

Properties receiving a remission under this policy must be reviewed every year.

Decisions under this policy are delegated to officers as set out in the council’s Delegation Manual.

Remission of penalties

12.1 Objective

The objective of this part of the remission policy is to enable the council to act fairly and reasonably in its consideration of rates that the council has not received by the penalty date.

12.2 Criteria and conditions

Remission of a penalty charged on the current year’s rates will be considered where payment is made and provided the ratepayer has made no late payments for rates within the preceding rating year and either:

      • Payment of the full amount of the current year’s rates is received within four weeks of the penalty being charged, or
      • an agreed payment arrangement is put in place

Where further rates are still outstanding, the ratepayer will be required to enter into a payment arrangement before any remission of penalties is considered. The council’s preferred method of payment is by way of direct debit authority. Where a payment arrangement is entered into through a direct debit authority, the council will consider the full remission of the latest penalties. For other payment arrangements made, a partial remission of the latest penalties will be considered. Any payment arrangement entered into must clear the rates due over a period of time agreed to by council staff.

Applications for remission of penalties in excess of $250 must be made in writing. Applications for remissions of penalties of $250 or less may be made by telephone, email, in person at Waikato Regional Council’s Hamilton Office or in writing. Each application will be considered on its merits.

The council will delegate authority to approve applications for remission of penalties to particular officers as set out in the council's delegations resolution.

 General remission policy

13.1 Objective

To give council the ability to consider individual circumstances based on principles of fairness and equity.

13.2 Criteria and conditions

Remission of rates that do not fall within the definition of other remission policies may be granted at the discretion of the Group Manager, Finance having consideration of the individual circumstances of the property at the time the rates were struck and the fairness and equity of the remission request, provide that the approval of the remission must not set a precedent that unfairly disadvantages other ratepayers. Any remission granted under this policy will be reported to the Finance and Audit committee at the first opportunity.

Policy on early payment of rates

Section 55 and 56 of the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 empowers councils to accept early payment of rates.

Council proposes to accept payment of rates in anticipation of rates for subsequent financial years.

Postponement of rates

Ratepayers can apply to Waikato Regional Council to postpone their rates payment. To be eligible for a rates postponement you must:

      • meet the full postponement cost
      • satisfy us that you can ultimately pay the rates
      • insure the property for its full value, and provide evidence of this annually.
      • The period of time for which you can postpone rates is dependent on your age at the time of application.

More information

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