Late / Non Payment of Rates
The Local Government Act provides that Councils impose an initial fine of 2% on any payment for rates, whether by quarterly instalment or otherwise, that is received late. A payment that continues to be late is then charged a prescribed interest rate on the expiration of each month that it continues to be late. For the 2012/13 financial year this prescribed rate is 0.7083% per month.
The Council may issue a Final Warning letter when rates have been overdue for at least three consecutive quarters. Should rates remain unpaid for more than 21 days after the issue of the notice, the Council may refer the debt to a debt collection agency for collection. The debt collection fees and legal costs are recoverable from the ratepayer.
SALE OF LAND FOR NON-PAYMENT OF RATES
The Local Government Act provides that a Council may sell any property where the rates have been in arrears for three years or more. The Council is required to notify the owner of the land of its intention to sell the land if payment of the outstanding amount is not received within one month, and provide the owner with details of the outstanding amounts. Except in extraordinary circumstances, the Council enforces the sale of land for arrears of rates.
REMISSION AND POSTPONEMENT OF RATES
The Local Government Act permits a Council, on the application of a ratepayer, to partially or wholly remit rates or to postpone rates, on the basis of hardship. Where a ratepayer is suffering hardship in paying rates he/she is invited to contact the Council to discuss the matter. Such matters are treated confidentially by the Council.
RATES POSTPONEMENT (STATE SENIORS CARD HOLDERS)
Ratepayers who hold a State Seniors Card are now able to apply to Council to postpone payment of Council rates on their principal place of residence. Conditions apply - Application forms and further information are available from the Council office.
REBATE OF RATES
The Local Government Act requires Councils to rebate the rates payable on some land. Specific provisions are made for land used for health services, community services, religious purposes, public cemeteries and educational institutions. The Council in accordance with the Act may apply discretionary rebates.