Item 11.2 - Attachment 1
Council's Rates Hardship Policy
Rates Hardship Policy
Policy Number …….
Council recognises that certain ratepayers in the community may have difficulty in meeting their commitments regarding the payment of residential Rates & Charges.
To provide financial relief to customers of Council experiencing difficulty in meeting their commitments in paying their Rates & Charges.
The Local Government Act allows Council to provide a range of assistance measures. This policy outlines the options Council will provide to cases of genuine hardship.
This policy will apply to Ratepayers who claim hardship in meeting their obligation to pay the Rates & Charges.
Relationship to Legislation
Section 582 LGA, 1993
Council can provide assistance to Pensioners under this section. Council may defer payment of all or part of the rates and charges payable after rebates have been deducted.
Section 564 & 567 LGA, 1993
Council can enter into payment arrangements with ratepayers, who cannot meet their normal instalment payments as provided by the LGA, 1993, and may write-off interest charges.
Related Strategies, Plans or Policies
Voluntary Pensioner Rebate Policy – the pro-rata Pensioner Rebate granted by Council
Procedure Manual – Debt Recovery for Overdue Rates & Charges
Council recognises there are cases of genuine financial hardship requiring respect and compassion in special circumstances. This policy establishes guidelines for assessment of a hardship application applying the principles of fairness, integrity, confidentiality and compliance with statutory requirements. It applies to all applications for periodical payment arrangements (weekly, fortnightly or monthly), deferment of payment or writing off rates, fees, annual charges and interest accrued on such debts.
Write-offs will be done under the delegation of authority of the Manager Rates. Those amounts over the authorised delegation will be referred to Manager Finance, then Group Manager Corporate and to a Council meeting if over the Group Managers delegation of authority.
Assessment of financial hardship is to be made following the completion of Council’s “Financial Hardship Relief Application Form” – see attachment 1.
Assistance by Periodical Payment Arrangements
Section 564 of the LGA provides that Council may enter into a formal agreement with a ratepayer eligible for alternative periodical payments on their rates and charges. A periodical payment agreement will be offered in accordance with Council’s Debt Recovery procedures.
Assistance by writing off accrued interest and costs
Accrued interest on rates and charges payable by a person may be written off under Section 567 of the LGA 1993, if
1. The person was unable to pay the rates or charges when they become due for reasons beyond the person’s control or
2. The property for which the hardship application applies must be the principle place of residency of the applicant/s.
3. The property for which the hardship application applies must be categorised as “Residential” for rating purposes.
4. The application for hardship must be accompanied with supporting documentation which may include but is not limited to:
· Reasons why the person was unable to pay the rates and charges when they became due and payable
· Copy or recent bank statements for all accounts
· Details of income and expenditure
· Letter from a recognised financial counsellor or financial planner confirming financial hardship.
5. The CEO has the delegated authority to assess all applications from any ratepayer after receiving a written request.
Ratepayer The person/s responsible for the payment of Council Rates & Charges
LGA Local Government Act 1993
Valuations The Land Value supplied by the Valuer General for rating purposes