Understanding Rates

​​Rates are based on a valuation of the property. The Council contracts Quotable Value to perform property revaluations to reflect changing market values every three years.

Read the following FAQs for the most common questions and answers regarding rating valuation, rebates, penalties and penalty remission. 

Rates FAQs

Understanding your Rating Valuation

Rates are based on a valuation of the property. The Council contracts Quotable Value to perform property revaluations to reflect changing market values every three years.

You will receive a notice of your rating valuation every three years but it will not be reflected in your Rates Assessment Notice until the following rating year, commencing 1 July.

The main indicator of a property's value is its worth on the current real estate market. The value is determined by looking at the selling price of other similar properties in the area. Any chattels such as carpets, drapes or light fittings are excluded from the valuation.

Capital Value

This is the probable price that would be paid for the property as at the date of the latest general revaluation. It does not include chattels, stock, crops, machinery or trees. Residential values include GST, other property types do not.

Land Value

This is the probable price that would be paid for the bare land as at the date of valuation. The Land Value includes any development work which may have been carried out, such as draining, excavation, filling, retaining walls, reclamation, grading, levelling, clearing of vegetation, fertility build‐up, or protection from erosion or flooding.

Value of Improvements

This is the difference between the capital value and the land value. It reflects the value of the property's buildings and other structures, as well as any landscaping features.

Rating Valuations with regards to Building Consents

As part of the building consent process Quotable Value are notified of any significant changes to the property and will provide Council with an amended Valuation. A new rating Valuation notice will then be sent to the property owners as shown on the rating information database. Although this will take into account the improvements made, the base date of the valuation will always be that of the last revaluation and will be calculated on market data from that time.
Why is this?
The rates which are applied to a rating unit are based off a properties rating valuation. As the market may change between general revaluations, which are undertaken every 3 years, it is important that rates are assessed from the same point in time for all properties. This is a requirement of the rating legislation and ensures fairness and consistency.

Any changes to the valuation will have an impact on your rates from the commencement of the new rating year, on 1 July.

Rating Valuations with regards to Subdivisions

When a property is subdivided each of the newly created properties will be valued once titles are issued and valuation notices sent to owners as shown on the rating information database.

Subdivisions made during the year are not rated as separate properties until the commencement of the new rating year, on 1 July. Consequently, the owner of a property, prior to any subdivision, remains liable for the full year’s rates until the new subdivision is assessed for rates.

Changing home ownership

A ratepayer is the person who is named in the rating information database and the district valuation roll as owning the property. This must be the name of the person/s on the certificate of title. It is a legal requirement to inform Council of any change of ownership. Generally when selling or purchasing a property, your Solicitor will act on your behalf and liaise with Council to ensure that all information is updated.

Buyers

Rates are a charge on a property, not a property owner. That means that any outstanding rates on a property at the time of purchase become the responsibility of the new owner.

When a property is sold, the vendor's solicitor will usually identify any outstanding rates and negotiate the sale accordingly. If you receive an invoice for overdue rates from a previous owner, contact the solicitor who represented you in the purchase to resolve the matter with the previous owners. In the meantime, it is in your best interest to settle the account immediately to avoid further penalties.

I am looking to purchase a property, How do I find out information about the property?

It is recommended when purchasing a property to request a LIM report Basic rates information is available to view on the Rating Information Database or via our website.

Sellers

If you receive an assessment in your name after you've sold the property, it may mean the Council has not received notification. It is a requirement that Council is advised within one month of when a change of ownership occurs. Please advise your solicitor to issue the appropriate notification as soon as possible and return the assessment to the Council.

If you have been paying your rates by direct debit, the transfer will be cancelled automatically when the Council receives a notification.

Rates penalties and penalty remission

As per sections 57 and 58 of the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002, those instalments which remain unpaid after their quarterly due date will incur a penalty of 10% of the instalment balance remaining.

Council operate a penalty remission policy, and staff may be able to remit the
penalty charged where:

  • Regular payments are being made which clear all outstanding rates by the
    end of the financial year ending on 30 June 2017; or
  • You choose direct debit as an option for future payments; or
  • All payments have been made on time for the previous four instalments; or
  • Late payment has been due to extraordinary circumstances (evidence may be
    required)

Any queries in relation to rates penalties or penalty remissions can be discussed with
a member of the Customer Services Team via telephone, email rates@hcc.govt.nz or in person on
the ground floor of the Municipal Building.

When are penalties charged?

Penalties will be applied after the due date of an instalment on any instalment balance which remains unpaid. A compounding penalty will also be applied early July and January for any accounts which have rates outstanding from the previous rating year where there is not an agreed arrangement for payment ‐ The rating year runs from the 1st of July to the 30th of June. The compounding penalty is 10% of any rates outstanding from the prior rating year.

Rates Rebates

The Rates Rebate Scheme was established by the Government through the Rates Rebate Act 1973, and the new criteria given affect to by the Rates Rebate Order 2006. The scheme is administered by the Council on behalf of the Department of Internal Affairs. The scheme's purpose is to provide a subsidy to low‐income homeowners and ratepayers on the cost of their rates.
You may apply for the rebate if:

  • You pay rates on the address you live at, and
  • You were living there as at 1 July, being the commencement of the rating
    year, and
  • Your name is on the Rating Information database (RID), and
  • The total income of you, your partner, and any joint homeowner is within the
    income threshold.

Applicants are required to provide information about their gross annual income for the relevant period 1 April 2015 ‐ 31 March 2016.

The level of your rates, your income level and whether you have any dependants will all have a bearing on whether you qualify for a rebate or not.

The maximum rebate granted for this year is $610. The rebate will be credited to your rates account.

If you think you may qualify for a rebate under this scheme, or for further information on the scheme please contact us.

How long have I got to complete the application?

You can apply any time during the current rating year , the last day been the 30th of June. You need to apply each year.

Can I apply for last year?

No, you can only apply during the current rating year.

Can I have a Rebate application posted to me?

Yes, either email the rates team, call us on 07 838 6688 or alternatively a rebate application form can be downloaded from the Department of Internal Affairs Website.

Can I have more information about the Rates Rebates?

The Department of Internal Affairs website provides further explanation around the rates rebate scheme.

Do I qualify for a Rates Rebate?

Use this Calculator to check if you are eligible (please note you will still be required to complete a rebate application form).

Do I get a rebate off my Regional Council rates?

Although the rebate gets applied only to your Hamilton City Council Rates, it is calculated taking into account both your Hamilton City and Waikato Regional Council rates.

What do I do once I complete the application form?

Your application must to be witnessed by an authorised person as shown on the back of the form and provided to Hamilton City Council to check and process.

Can I just turn up at Council and have my application dealt with?

Due to the high number of enquiries, Rates Rebates are dealt with via appointments during the initial stages of the rating year (1 July ‐ 30th of November). Council rebate staff will also be available at some other locations such as libraries and other council facilities at specified times (this is variable from year to year) which can be confirmed by contacting the Rates Team on 07 838 6688. As from December each year to the end of June, appointments will not be required.

What if am unable to make it into an appointment due to a medical condition?

In those cases we can provide a home visit. These are generally carried out around November. Please contact the Customer Services Team on 07 838 6688 to register each year.

My instalment is due before my rebate appointment, what do I need to pay?

You will need to pay the full amount of the instalment in order to avoid any penalty charges.

Do I get the rebate paid into my bank account?

 No, the purpose of the rates rebate is to assist you with your rates throughout the rating year. A rates rebate reduces each of your 4 instalments by equal amounts. It may be possible to apply for a refund if your rates go into credit over and above the rating year.

For further detailed information including questions about income and eligibility, please refer to the Department of Internal Affairs common Questions and Answers.

Rates Remission – hardship relief

Council also offer a further rates reduction in addition to the government rebate, in those cases where it is identifie​​d there is extreme financial hardship. Council staff will identify whether you qualify when completing the government rebate application. This rates remission policy allows council to remit rates on a residential property up to an expected maximum of $464. Each application is considered on its
merits and is authorised by Council's Revenue Manager.

The applicant must reside at the property and must provide a full financial statement to meet conditions and criteria. This criterion includes income levels, financial assets and the ownership structure of the property.

More information can be found in the Ra​tes Remission ​Policy​​ (PDF, 150KB).

Rates Refunds

If you have paid your account in advance (over and above the current instalment period) you may request a refund of the overpaid rates. Refund enquiries should be directed to the Rates Department on 07‐838 6688 or email rates@hcc.govt.nz, or post to the address shown below. Requests for refunds must be made in writing from the property owner/s.

Direct credit payments will take from 5 ‐ 10 working days in order to process. Council no longer offers cheque  refunds. You may be required to provide identification on request, and any refund will generally be made into the same bank account from which your payments have been made from.

Council reserves the right to decline a refund request, or ask for further information to be provided for consideration.​

Page reviewed: 31 Jul 2017 12:27pm