Rates – Understanding your Rates

RATES AND CHARGES 2024/2025

Why do we need rates?

Rates are an important part of Council’s ability to fund and deliver essential community infrastructure and services.  From roads and bridges to the parks and playgrounds, gardens and reserves, sports facilities, ovals, public toilets, and waste facilities, almost everything you see from your front gate is provided by councils.  Rates are Council’s largest source of income.

More detailed information can be found in the Council’s annual budget.

Rate notices

Your annual rate notice shows the total rates due for the current financial year.  It also includes a breakdown of the charges, including:

  • General Rate
  • Fire Service Act 1979 contributions
  • Service Rates and Charges
    • Stormwater removal charge
    • Waste management – kerbside collection charges
  • Government rebates
  • Remissions

The Council’s Rates Resolution provides more information.

  • GENERAL RATE

As the name suggests, this rate goes to generally funding, in full or in part, the majority of the services and programs that Council provides.  It represents the largest component of rates and charges income.

  • FIRE SERVICE RATE (FIRE LEVY)

The annual rate notice shows the Fire Service Rate.  This is not a Council charge.  The Council is required to collect this revenue on behalf of the state government and it is passed onto the Tasmania Fire Service.  The levy funds the provision of firefighters, training, infrastructure and life-saving equipment.

The State Fire Commission advises the Council how much must be recovered from properties within the volunteer brigade district, with the balance coming from the general land fire district.  They also advise the minimum amount payable.

  • STORMWATER REMOVAL CHARGE

Council provides stormwater infrastructure to provide for the effective drainage of water runoff.  These systems, which can include open drains and creeks, as well as infrastructure like pipes and pumps, need to be operated and maintained effectively.  Council applies a stormwater removal charge to cover these costs.

The charge is only applied to those properties where the service is supplied.

  • WASTE MANAGEMENT – KERBSIDE COLLECTION CHARGES

Council provides waste management services including kerbside collection of rubbish and recycling, and applies a waste management charge to cover these costs.

The charge is applied to those properties where the service is supplied and varies according to the size and number of bins being collected.

  • GOVERNMENT REBATES

Eligible pensioners may receive a rates rebate:

  • State Government: 30%
    • Maximum caps for the Pensioner Rates Remission for pensioners apply depending on whether or not you are a customer of TasWater
  • State Fire Commission: 20% (of the Fire Service Rate)

Pensioners must hold one of the following Pensioner Concession Cards dated on or before 1 July of the financial year to which the rates relate, to be eligible for a discount:

  • Centrelink or Department of Veterans’ Affairs Pensioner Concession Card (PCC)
  • Centrelink Health Care Card (HCC)
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs ‘Gold Card’ endorsed with TPI or War Widow/Widower

The cardholder must be legally responsible for the rates on the property and it must be the cardholder’s main residence.  In the case of joint ownership, at least one of the owners must meet the eligibility criteria.  There is a limit of one remission per year, per pensioner household.

Pensioners who received a remission last year should automatically receive a remission this year.  This will appear as a reduction in the rate notice.

If you have not received a Government Rebate on your annual rate notice, please contact Council, or you can submit an online application for rates remission on the Council’s website.

Please note: these rebates are detailed under the Local Government (Rates and Charges Remissions) Act 1991 (Tas). Eligibility of a pensioner remission is determined by the state government’s Department of Treasury and Finance.

An Australian Government Seniors Health Card does not qualify the holder for a rates remission.

  • RATES BROCHURE

The Council’s Rates brochure provide further explanation.

How your rates are calculated

All properties within the Huon Valley municipal area are valued by the Office of the Valuer General (OVG) to determine the land value, capital value and assessed annual value.  The Huon Valley Council uses a property’s capital value as the basis for calculating the amount each property owner will pay.

Fresh valuations are generally undertaken every six years.  The last Huon Valley Council revaluation was undertaken and applied for the 2022/23 financial year.

In between fresh valuations a property’s capital value is adjusted every two years by the Valuer-General.  This is noted on your rate notice as adjusted capital value (ADJCV) and is the value to which the general rate applies.

Rates Calculations

The Council calculates how much money is needed in General Rates to provide the services and programs that our community needs.  The total amount of money to be raised in General Rates is divided by the total value of all rateable properties in the Huon Valley municipal area.  The resulting figure is the “rate in the dollar”.

Council sets a General Rate and a minimum amount payable, and also applies a variation to the general rate for commercial and industrial properties based on the predominant use of that property.  (This classification is also determined by the OVG).

Supplementary Rates

Supplementary rates are charged when a property owner undertakes a significant improvement or development on their land, such as building a new structure or subdividing the land.   If you are contemplating any change or alteration to your property, including house extensions, demolitions, or even building a new house, an important step in the process is to find out whether your proposal requires planning, building or plumbing approval prior to the commencement of work.  More detailed information on this can be found on the Planning information page.

Supplementary rates can also be levied when the valuation of a property changes, for example due to a change of use of the land, or an objection to a property valuation or error occurs.

The amount of supplementary rates is based on the increased value of the property resulting from the improvement or development.  Where the valuation is determined to have decreased, the rates may also decrease.

When a supplementary rate notice is issued it replaces the previous annual rate notice for the property and the supplementary amounts are due on the remaining instalment dates for the year.

Rates Remissions

  • CONSERVATION COVENANTS

If you are a landowner who voluntarily protects native vegetation of significant conservation value, you will receive a rates remission.

Under the Nature Conservation Act 2002, the annual rates remission per hectare protected under the Private Forest Reserves Program, or the Protected Areas on Private Land Program is $5.00 per hectare, with a maximum rebate of $500.  A minimum rebate also applies.

  • CROWN LEASE OR LICENCES

If you hold a lease or licence from the Crown in relation to jetties/slipways and boatsheds, a general rate remission is applied, however Fire Service contributions and service charges, where applicable, will be levied.

Paying your Rates

PAYMENTS

Rates are to be paid each financial year (1 July to 30 June).

Payments can be made as one payment on the first instalment date, or in four equal instalments on the due dates shown on the rate notice.

An annual rate notice is sent out in July followed by instalment reminder notices before each due date.

  • DEFAULT IN PAYMENT OF RATES INSTALMENT

If a ratepayer fails to pay any instalment within 21 days of the date on which the rates are due, the Council may require the ratepayer to pay the full amount owing, under Section 124(5) of the Act.

  • LATE PAYMENTS, PENALTY AND INTEREST

A penalty of 3% will be charge on unpaid instalments in accordance with Section 128(1) of the Act, and thereafter interest is calculated at a rate per annum, calculated daily, for the period during which it is unpaid.

A remission of penalty or interest may be granted to any ratepayer who has entered into, and complies with, alternative and flexible payment arrangements, or has an approved rate payment deferral under the Council’s Financial Hardship and Payment Assistance Policy.

  • FINANCIAL HARDSHIP AND PAYMENT ASSISTANCE

The Council has established a Policy to assist ratepayers and community members who may be unable to meet their financial obligations to the Council due to genuine financial hardship.

If you are facing financial difficulties, you are encouraged to apply for assistance promptly.  The Council is committed to working with you to create a payment plan tailored to your specific needs.

  • RECOVERY OF RATES

If any instalment is not paid on or before the due date the whole balance of rates and charges, together with accrued penalty and interest, becomes a debt due and payable and Council may take action to recover that debt.  Where rates or charges are overdue beyond an acceptable level, debt recovery proceedings will be instigated in accordance with Section 133 of the Act and the matter will be referred to Council’s external debt recovery agency.