General Rates – Rebates and Deferments


I need assistance with General Rates – Rebates and Deferments

What is it?

Rates are levied on property owners to provide funding for a wide range of municipal and other essential services to the ACT community. Eligible ACT residents can apply for rebates or deferrals, as detailed below.

Who runs it?

ACT Revenue Office

Who is eligible?

Property owners who receive a pension, unemployment or other benefits, owners over the age of 65 or anyone suffering substantial financial hardship may be eligible.

Contact

ACT Revenue Office
Ph: (02) 6207 0028
Web: ACT Revenue Office

Pensioner assistance

The following forms of assistance are available to eligible pensioners. Full details of the schemes can be obtained from the ACT Revenue Office.

Rebates

If you’re a property owner who receives a Commonwealth Government or Department of Veterans' Affairs pension and are entitled to a Pensioner Concession Card or a War Veteran's pension, you may be eligible for the pensioner rates rebate. Rebate assistance applies only to your principal place of residence.

The rebate is based on the interests in the property. If there are two people on the title of the property and they are both eligible for the pension, the household will receive the full rebate. If there is only one person eligible for the pension concession, the household will receive a 50 per cent rebate.

The pensioner rates rebate is a 50 per cent rebate on your rates up to a cap of $700.

If you have been continuously eligible for the rebate since 30 June 1997, you are covered by a different rebate scheme. The amount of your rebate is 50 per cent of your rates, but your rebate is capped at the 2015-16 level if it exceeded $700 in that year.

Eligible property owners also receive a partial rebate of $98 for the Fire and Emergency Services Levy.

If you become a pensioner during the year you should contact the ACT Revenue Office as soon as possible to determine your eligibility for a rebate. To apply for a rebate please complete the Pensioner Rates Rebate Application (external site).

Applications for a rebate must be received by 30 June before the start of the next financial year.

Deferral

If you’re an eligible pensioner, in addition to getting a rebate, you may defer payment of all or part of the balance of your total rates charges after you’ve deducted the rebate. The ACT Revenue Office charges a relatively low rate of interest on deferred amounts.

Apply for a deferral of charges by completing the Rates Deferral (Pensioner) Application (external site).

Aged assistance

From 1 July 2018, if you’re a property owner aged 65 or over and you own at least 75 per cent equity in your home, you may indefinitely defer your rates charges.

The ACT Revenue Office charges a relatively low rate of interest on deferred amounts. There are no longer any income or land value thresholds for access to the aged deferral scheme.

Apply for a deferral of charges by completing the Rates Deferral (Aged) Application (external site).

Special Disability Trust assistance

The following forms of rates assistance are available to eligible Special Disability Trusts. Full details of the schemes can be obtained from the ACT Revenue Office. Special Disability Trusts are also eligible for a duty exemption.

Rebate

A special disability trust that owns a property in trust for a beneficiary may be eligible for a rebate. Rebate assistance is limited to the beneficiary's principal residence and to a maximum concession of $700 per property for all new applicants.

As of 1 July 2016, for special disability trusts established before 1 July 1997, the uncapped rebate scheme remains frozen at 2015-16 levels when the value exceeds the rebate cap of $700. This scheme applies to you if the trust has been continuously eligible for the rebate since 30 June 1997.

To apply for a rebate please complete the Pensioner Rates Rebate Application (external site). Applications for a 2017-18 rates rebate must be received by 30 June 2018.

Deferral

In addition to getting a rebate, eligible special disability trusts may defer payment of all or part of the balance of their total rates charges after they’ve deducted the rebate. The ACT Revenue Office charges a relatively low rate of interest on deferred amounts.

Apply for a deferral of charges by completing the Rates Deferral (Special Disability Trust) Application Form (external site).

Hardship assistance

Deferment

If you’re a property owner and you’re receiving unemployment or other Government benefits, or suffering significant financial hardship, you can apply to defer payment of the rates charges for your home. We charge a relatively low rate of interest on deferred amounts. To apply, complete and return the Rates Deferral (Hardship) Application Form 431KB with all supporting documentation attached to the ACT Revenue Office.

Where the Commissioner for ACT Revenue assesses a customer’s eligibility for hardship assistance, we will take the following factors into account when considering whether a transaction is likely to result in substantial hardship.

  • Is the property the applicant’s principal place of residence
  • The customer is on a Centrelink Income or holds a Centrelink low Income Health Care Card
  • The customer has been referred by an accredited financial counsellor or welfare agency
  • What available funds the customer has
  • Number of dependents
  • Any unforeseen events.

It will not be considered financial hardship where an applicant chooses not to meet a liability for an unpaid debt. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of potentially relevant factors. In determining whether a situation involves substantial hardship, the presence (or absence) of any one or more of the listed factors is not conclusive.

Scenario 1

The applicants are a young couple Taylor and Adrian. At the time they purchased their property they reasonably expected that they would be able to meet their obligations as they had two incomes as well as savings.

However Taylor was since involved in an accident and was permanently unable to walk. In order for Taylor to live in the property they had to make substantial alterations which exhausted their savings. Additionally, with only one income it was difficult to meet their ongoing fixed expenses. As a result they had accumulated a rates debt.

After seeking assistance from various avenues, including unsuccessfully applying for a loan and after contacting independent debt counselling services, the applicant sought assistance from the Commissioner. The Commissioner determined that the couple had experienced factors beyond their control, had taken all reasonable steps available to them and that payment of rates would cause undue hardship. Therefore assistance available to the couple included deferment.

Scenario 2

The applicant, Bill, accumulated a large rates debt. They had made minimal payments and as a result the Commissioner had commenced legal debt recovery proceedings. At that point, Bill then applied to the Commissioner, seeking deferment of the debt, stating hardship grounds because their expenses far exceeded their income.

After reviewing their income and expenditure history, it was noted that while their expenses regularly exceeded their income, a significant percentage of the expenditure related to discretionary items such as travel and entertainment. In the absence of these expenses, their income would exceed fixed expenses including rates.

In this case the Commissioner found that the applicant was not experiencing hardship and that therefore any assistance provided would not include deferment. However assistance provided may include an instalment plan, with interest payable at the rate set out under the Act, to enable Bill some time to reorganise their finances.

Deferral

If you’re a property owner and you’re receiving unemployment or other benefits, or suffering significant financial hardship, you can apply to defer payment of the rates charges for your home. The ACT Revenue Office charges a relatively low rate of interest on deferred amounts.

To apply for a deferral of charges, please complete the Rates Deferral (Hardship) Application (external site).

How do I apply?

Full details of rebate schemes can be obtained from the ACT Revenue Office.

If you are in receipt of any of the pensions or benefits mentioned above, or are experiencing difficulties in meeting your rates payments, please contact the ACT Revenue Office to discuss alternative payment arrangements.

What if I Don’t Pay?

If payment of the assessed amount is not received by the due date you will be liable for interest, charged and compounding on a monthly basis, on any amount that remains unpaid.