RATES

What do the changes mean?

You should check your local council website for information on rates relief that may be offered.

State and Territory rates relief measures

Australian Capital Territory


Rebates and freezes

Changes include:

  • Delaying 2019-2020 4th quarter residential general instalments and land tax assessments by four weeks. The notice will be payable one month after issue.
  • Applying a $150 rebate to the fixed charge component of all residential rates bills in 2020-2021.
  • Freezing the Fire and Emergency Services Levy in 2020-2021 at the current 2019-2020 level.

Financial hardship

Owner occupiers experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19 can apply for a deferral of rates.

To be eligible for a deferral of 12 months for rates, household income usually has to have fallen by at least 25%. Example circumstances are:

  • Unemployment;
  • Reduced hours of work; or
  • A loss of small business income.

To apply for a deferral, homeowners will need to complete a form available from ACT Revenue Website.

Resource:

ACT Economic survival package: Residential rates.




New South Wales


NSW has no specific uniform approach to financial assistance regarding the payment of council rates for people affected by COVID-19.

Some councils have announced rates relief for home owners. Check your local council website.

Resources

Ombudsman NSW: Having trouble with your rates and charges




Northern Territory


Chief Minister Gunner has written to all local councils in the NT asking them to provide at least six months of rate relief through waivers and deferrals (ABC News 8 April 2020). Check with your local council for what it offers. Darwin Council has already agreed to provide rates relief.




Queensland


Many local councils in Queensland are offering rate relief for home owners financially affected by the pandemic. Check with your local council on what it is offering.




South Australia


Councils across South Australia have introduced rate relief measures for home owners financially affected by the pandemic. Check with your local council.




Tasmania


Some councils have introduced rates relief for homeowners financially affected by the pandemic. Check with your local council.




Victoria


Some councils have introduced rates relief for homeowners financially affected by the pandemic. Check with your local council.




Western Australia


A list of all councils in Western Australia and their proposed rates relief measures for home owners financially affected by the pandemic can be found here. Although this is a summary for business, it does mention individuals and provides links to council information.





What do you do differently?
  • Councils should be complying with the National Cabinet decisions. If necessary, remind the council of those obligations 

  • Do negotiate affordable repayment arrangements

  • Make sure you ask for fees and interest not to be charged

  • Try to avoid deferring payments and debts. Try to avoid your client accruing large debts that may leave your client exposed to a forced sale when the pandemic is over.

  • Council should not be threatening a forced sale or enforcement action over rates arrears. If the council does either of things, you should mention the National Cabinet decisions.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for financial counsellors only. It is general information only. Financial counsellors must still tailor advice to their client’s individual circumstances. 

Copyright © 2020 Financial Counselling Australia. All rights reserved.​

FCA sincerely thanks Kat Lane. Liz Minter and Melinda Rene for their outstanding work in putting this site together.