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Rates Frequently Asked Questions


For further information on rates please contact Customer Service on 9330 6400 or mail@georgesriver.nsw.gov.au

The Council rating system has changed from 1 July 2021. For more information visit the New Rates 2021 page. 
 

General Rates FAQs

  • I’m not able to pay my rates on time / I require financial assistance

    Council encourages ratepayers to pay their rates by the due date.

    We understand there may be circumstances where a ratepayer is experiencing genuine financial hardship and our guidelines for the assessment of hardship applications are outlined in our Debt Management and Hardship Policy.

    Visit our Hardship Assistance page to find out more about available options such as payment extensions and payment plans and to apply.

    If you're trying to do the right thing, we're committed to understanding your situation and helping you where possible.

  • Are there any additional charges incurred for late payment?

    Yes, for any overdue amount, interest charges are applied each day past the due date.

    Visit the Late Payments page for more information.
     

  • What services do my Council rates pay for?

    Visit our How rates are calculated and spent page for information.

  • Why do I have to pay rates?

    Each property owner in the LGA is legally obliged to pay rates and charges as issued by Council (under the Local Government Act 1993). The rates paid to Council support our delivery of important community services, future planning and infrastructure maintenance and development.

    Council’s core services include community services, sporting and recreation services, environmental planning, public health, environmental protection and waste collection, treatment and disposal.

    A full list of capital works planned for the year and where our priority spend areas are can be found in Council’s Delivery Program and Operational Plan.

  • Does Council offer discounts on rates for pensioners?

    Council offers rebates and concessions for eligible pensioners who own and occupy a rateable property.

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic impact on the community Council expanded the options available to pensioners under its Debt Management and Hardship Policy.

    Visit our Rebates for Pensioners page for more information and how to apply, or call 9330 6400.

  • Is anyone exempt from paying rates and charges?

    All properties within Council area are legally required to pay rates and charges, except for certain ‘non-rateable’ land belonging to an organisation used in accordance with one of the following categories as defined by the Local Government Act 1993, such as Churches, Schools, Reserves, Public Places, Public Libraries, Charitable Institutes, and Public Hospitals (Sections 555 & 556 LG Act 1993).

    You may apply to have your property exempt from rating, or appeal our decision, in the Land and Environment Court. Further information regarding non-rateable land may be obtained by contacting Council on 02 9330 6400.

  • How are rates and late payment interest calculated?
    For information on how rates are calculated, visit the How rates are calculated and spent page.

    For information on fees for late payments, visit the Pay my rates page.
  • What is a minimum rate?

    These are a specific type of rate, where a minimum amount is levied on each parcel of land, regardless of land value.

    For more information, visit the How rates are calculated and spent page. 

  • What are postponed rates?

    If you have a single dwelling on land that could be subdivided or developed, the rateable value of your land may be more than is usual for a single dwelling. If this is the case, you may be able to postpone part of your rates.

    Postponing your rates will result in you paying less rates until you sell or develop the land when you must pay the postponed amount (including some postponed interest charges).

    This provision is usually used for 'asset rich and cash poor' owners who choose to continue to use and occupy their land after the land has been rezoned but can’t afford the high holding costs that come about due to increases in the land values. By postponing your rates, you can pay the postponed rates when you realise the value of the land when it is sold or developed. Where the land is held for longer than five years, some of the postponed rates are written off by Council so at any time you are only liable to pay a maximum of five years postponed rates and interest. This is particularly beneficial if you intend to hold the land for longer than five years.

    To assess how much you will need to pay, the land is given two values, with one being the value of the land if it were only zoned for residential use, and the full land value according to its zoned uses. Council will postpone the rates differences between the values and you will only need to pay the rates on the lower value. After five years and each year after that, unless the land has been vacated or developed, Council writes off one year of the postponed rates from five years prior so at any time you are only liable to pay a maximum of five years of postponed rates when the land is developed or sold.

    You should seek your own independent advice to see if this suits your circumstances before making any decision.

    If you believe that you may be eligible and wish to discuss your situation, please contact Council on 02 9330 6400 to receive information on how to begin an application.

Payment of Rates FAQs

More information is available on the Late payments page. 

  • Can Council reduce or waive fees?
    As rates are secured against the land, Council is legally unable to reduce or waive the value of rates. Under the legislation, Council can waive interest or late fees when customers enter into payment arrangements.

    Council encourages all ratepayers to pay their charges on time.

    If you are experiencing financial difficulties in paying your rates, Council may be able to assist. Visit our Hardship Assistance page for further information. 
  • Can the interest charges be waived and or frozen?
    Council is committed to assisting customers who are experiencing financial hardship. We can offer payment arrangements such as interest free extensions and interest free payment plans to ease the burden.

    To request a payment arrangement, please submit a Hardship Assistance Payment Arrangement Form available from our Hardship Assistance page before the due date of the rate payment.
     
  • Can Council review my interest and legal charges?

    You can request a review of the interest or legal charges if you believe an error caused by Council contributed to the charges.

    A request to review charges must be in writing to Council. You will need to provide supporting documentation where possible to support your claims that an error caused by Council contributed to the charges.

    Property owners should be aware that rates are payable on a quarterly basis. It is the owners responsibility to ensure Council has the correct address for the service of the rates notice.

    Requests due to oversight, being unaware or not receiving the rates notices will result in your request being unsuccessful.

  • If I pay strata fees, do I still pay rates to Council?
    Yes, rates are separate from strata or owner corporation (body corporate) fees. Council rates must be paid directly to Council. To pay your Council Rates and Charges, visit Pay my rates.
  • What are ordinary rates, waste and stormwater charges?

    There are three types of charges that may be listed on your Rates and Charges Notice.

    Ordinary Rates
    Ordinary rates (also referred to as Rates) are used to provide essential services such as the road network, street lighting, street cleaning, footpaths, parks, sport and recreation facilities, environmental planning and conservation, city rangers, pest control, libraries, town planning and building control, community services, and much more.

    Council is legally obliged to determine and charge an ordinary rate for each year on all rateable land in its area. Ordinary rates are made up of a variable rate based on the land value of individual properties in proportion to the total value of all land in the Local Government Area.

    The type of Ordinary Rate depends on the rating category (or sub-category) applied to your property.

    Visit Council's page on How rates are calculated and spent for more information. 

    Domestic Waste Management Charge 
    The Local Government Act 1993 requires councils to levy an annual charge for domestic waste management services on all parcels of rateable residential land for which the service is available, whether or not it is actually used. All property owners should contribute to the current and future provision of waste services. Charges for this service include the supply of waste, recycling and green waste collection bins, collection and disposal costs. Also included in this annual charge are other costs such as the bi-annual household clean-up kerbside collection service and education programs conducted by Council. Vacant residential land is charged a vacant land charge. These charges are applied on a cost recovery basis.

    Council levies other charges for additional services such as additional waste collection bins.

    Stormwater Management Charge
    This contributes to the cost of providing new or additional stormwater services across the local area. These activities may include:

    • stormwater pollution prevention,

    • flood mitigation,

    • rainwater and stormwater harvesting,

    • community education programs and stormwater drainage systems operations and maintenance.

    The maximum amount that a council can charge is $25 for an average residential block, and the charge can only be levied on properties where council provides a stormwater management service.​

    The yearly charge for residential landowners is $25 while strata unit owners pay $12.50.

    Business land owners pay $25 for each 350sqm or part of 350sqm, up to a maximum of $1,500. Business strata units pay $5 or $25 per 350sqm (or part thereof) of land area that would apply to the land subject to the strata scheme divided on a pro-rata basis between the lots, not less that $5 for any individual lot.

    Certain land may be exempt from the charge, such as Crown land, rural land, vacant land containing no impervious surfaces, and land belonging to charities and public benevolent institutions.

How Rates are Calculated and Spent FAQs

More information is available on the How rates are calculated and spent page. 

  • Why are rates higher and or lower for the surrounding properties?
    For the past 5 years Council has had to maintain two rating systems being the former Hurstville and Kogarah councils. Council has developed a new rating system for Georges River Council whereby rates are consistent across the entire Local Government Area. This new rates structure comes into effect on 30 July 2021 and will support a fair, equitable and consistent rating system.
    For more information, visit the New Rates 2021 page.
     
    Council’s rating system and valuation changes are the main factors that will determine what happens to rates on an individual property. A general revaluation by the Valuer-General may result in the value of some land increasing or decreasing by more than other land. Where this happens the rates burden will shift.
    For more information, visit the Land valuations and How rates are calculated and spent pages.

     
  • How does Council decide how much the community pays for Rates and Charges

    Each Council is required to determine the combination of rates, charges, fees and pricing policies needed to fund the services it provides to the community. This is called a Revenue Policy (available within the Delivery Program and Operational Plan).

    The Revenue Policy contains a rating structure that determines which rates and charges you will have to pay and how they will be calculated. Charges are generally determined on an annual basis (1 July to 30 June the following year).

  • How does Council decide which rating category your property is in?

    Council is required to categorise each parcel of land for rating purposes according to its dominant use. Each parcel of land in New South Wales falls within one of four categories for rating purposes: residential, farmland, business or mining.

    • RESIDENTIAL - dominant use as residential accommodation or for vacant land the land is zoned for residential purposes - Section 516 of the Local Government Act.

    • BUSINESS – where the dominant use is for commercial or industrial use, or cannot be categorised in one of the other three categories - Section 518 of the Local Government Act.

    • FARMLAND – dominant use is for a significant and substantial farming business which is engaged in for the purpose of profit and is continuous or repetitive. Categorisation is subject to an approval process where owners must demonstrate the significance of the farming activity (there are presently no mining properties in Georges River Council LGA). - Section 515 of the Local Government Act.

    • MINING – where the owner has rights to mine coal or metals from land (there are presently no mining properties in Georges River Council LGA). - Section 517 of the Local Government Act.

    All our properties fall into either Residential or Business. If you believe your rating category is incorrect, you can ask us to review your category at any time. If you disagree with Council’s determination after the review, you may appeal to the Land and Environment Court under Section 526(1) of the NSW Local Government Act 1993 within 30 days of the declaration.

    If your rating category changes, you must advise Council within 30 days.

  • How does the rate peg affect rates increases?

    Under the Local Government Act 1993, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) sets the total amount of income that a council can raise from rates and therefore the amount that a council can increase rates each year, in line with inflation and other considerations.

    Each year the NSW State Government through the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) approves a maximum percentage increase in the total income a council can receive from rates (known as rate pegging), thereby limiting the amount of income a council can charge for rates each year. Because of rate pegging, a council's overall rates income is capped, and cannot increase by more than the approved percentage increase.

    The rate peg does not apply to stormwater, waste collection, water and sewerage charges. The rate peg applies to Council’s total allowable rates income and not to each individual property owner’s rates, so an individual ratepayer’s actual increase may be above this amount, particularly if there are new valuations in use for the first time or if Council is required to catch up rates lost in previous years due to valuation objections.

    If overall land values rise, councils may have to reduce or otherwise adjust the amount of rates levied per dollar so that total income does not grow by more than the approved percentage increase.​

    Councils can apply to IPART for additional increases in general income above the annual rate peg increase (known as a Special Rate Variation or SRV). Councils may seek a special rate variation in order to undertake environmental works, fund town improvements, redevelop community and civic facilities, address maintenance backlogs and maintain or improve existing service provision. Under the Act, councils may apply for a temporary or permanent single year increase under section 508(2), or a multi-year increase (of between two and seven years) under section 508A.

    These SRV applications are assessed by IPART against criteria listed in the Office of Local Government’s Guidelines. These include undertaking long term financial planning, ensuring community awareness of the need and extent of the proposed increase in rates, and consideration of the impact on ratepayers. In addition, councils must meet criteria related to productivity improvements. If a SRV application is approved, IPART determines Council’s final percentage increase.

    For 2020-21, the Rate Peg has been set at 2.6%.

  • How is the rate peg determined?

    IPART determines the rate peg that will apply to all councils for the year using a Local Government Cost Index (LGCI). The Index assists in calculating the operational costs of councils in New South Wales.

    The rate peg percentage is calculated by subtracting a determined productivity factor for councils from the Local Government Cost Index.

    Further details about the methodology IPART uses to determine the rate peg can be found on IPART’s website.​

  • Can rates increase more than the rate peg percentage?

    Yes. Rate pegging applies to a council's overall general income and not to rates on individual properties. Within rate pegging, it is possible for some rates to increase by more than the rate peg limit, while other rates may increase by less than the rate peg limit. In some cases, rates may decrease from the previous year. A council's rating structure and valuation changes are the main factors that determine what happens to rates on an individual property. Rating structures may change significantly from year to year.​ A general revaluation by the Valuer-General may result in the value of some land in a council area increasing or decreasing by more than other land. Where this happens the rates burden will shift. Councils may decide to vary rating structures from year to year to compensate for this.​

  • Are all Rates and Charges limited by rate pegging?

    No. Only ordinary rates are subject to rate pegging. Rates and charges for waste management, water, sewerage and stormwater are not subject to rate pegging.

  • Is there any way to control increases on Rates and Charges that are not subject to rate pegging?

    Even though certain rates and charges are not subject to rate pegging, councils are still required to provide details in their draft operational plan and related draft revenue policy of what they are proposing to charge. Councils must consider submissions from the public before adopting the proposed rates and charges.

    Annual charges for domestic waste management services and stormwater must be calculated to reflect the reasonable cost of providing those services to the community.

  • Can I object to Council's proposed fees and charges?
    Council continues to evaluate the impact of rates and seeks to ensure the system we use to calculate rates is the most equitable for the whole LGA.

    Every year, before the final amounts are fixed for the new rating year (1 July to 30 June), Council prepares a draft Delivery Program and Operational Plan that includes their proposed revenue policy for the following year. This document must include details of all rates and charges that the council is proposing to levy on ratepayers. The Draft Delivery Program and Operational Plan is then placed on public exhibition around April or May for 28 days. The exhibition period is an opportunity for you to review and comment via a submission regarding the rates, charges and fees proposed by Council. You are encouraged to take this opportunity to view the documents while on exhibition and if you have concerns, make a formal submission to ensure your feedback can be considered. Council must consider any submissions by the public before adopting the plan.

    Following the exhibition period, all public submission will be considered and reported to the Ordinary Meeting of Council scheduled in June when the Delivery Program Operational Plan will be adopted and the rates set for the upcoming rating year. Once the rates and charges have been adopted for a particular rating year, they cannot be changed until the next year.

Hardship Assistance FAQs

More information is available on the Hardship assistance page. 

  • Does Council offer discounts on rates for pensioners?

    Council offers rebates and concessions for eligible pensioners who own and occupy a rateable property. Visit Council’s Rebates for Pensioners page for more information and how to apply. Visit our Rebates for Pensioners page for more information

  • If I am receiving a rebate on my Council rates, can I still apply for financial assistance?

    Yes, if you are experiencing financial difficulties you may apply for financial assistance. 

  • Will a payment arrangement affect my credit rating?

    Entering into a payment arrangement with Council has no impact on your credit rating.

  • I already have a payment arrangement with Council but my circumstances have changed.

    You can apply for a new payment arrangement by submitting a new Hardship Assistance – Payment Arrangement form along with any supporting documentation.

    If your request is approved, we’ll cancel your previous plan. If Council agrees to an interest write-off, it will start from the date you enter into the new plan.

  • What if I default on my payment arrangement?

    The payment plan may be cancelled and all outstanding rates will be due immediately. Any agreement to write off interest will be forfeited.

    Note: If you default on a payment arrangement, we may ask you to make a higher upfront payment or higher regular payments or both, before we agree to a new plan.

Land Valuations FAQs

More information is available on the Land valuations page. 

  • How will I know what the value of my land is?

    The NSW Valuer General has issued Valuation Notices to owners of properties in the Georges River Council Local Government area from March 2020. If you have not received a Valuation Notice, you can contact the NSW Valuation Service on 1800 110 038. 

  • Why is the valuation increase for my suburb different than other suburbs?

    Land valuations are carried out every three years and the most recent valuation is based on property sales in your area around 1 July 2019. Because land valuations are done as a snapshot on a certain date, suburbs can be at different points in the property market on that date, leading to differences in valuations, even for neighbouring suburbs.

    A big increase in land valuation since the last valuation could indicate a lift in the property market in your suburb or that your property was at the low part of the market at the time of the last valuation, and has now caught up with the market.

    A small increase in land valuation could indicate a flat property market for your suburb or that your property was at the high part of the market at the time of the last valuation, with only a small increase as other suburbs catch up with the market. 

  • What if I don't agree with the land valuation of my property?

    Information about the NSW Valuer General’s valuation process and how to request a review is issued with the valuation notices. It is very important to read that information as it explains what you should do if you have concerns about your valuation and how to go about requesting a review of your valuation. In addition, the NSW Land & Property Information and NSW Valuer General’s Office websites contain information on the valuation process and how to request a review/lodge an objection.

    If you don’t agree with the land value, you have 60 days to object. You can lodge an objection online using the objection portal on the Valuer General website or contacting the Valuer General by calling 1800 110 038 to receive your objection kit by post or email.

    If you lodge an objection, you must still pay your rates while your objection is being considered (Section 36 of the Valuation of Land Act 1916). Whatever the Valuer General decides about your objection, they must advise you in writing. If you still don’t agree with the valuation, you have limited time to appeal to the Land and Environment Court. The response sent by the Valuer General will explain the final date for an appeal.

    All enquiries should be directed to Valuer General NSW.

  • If my land valuation is changed, will Council adjust my rates?

    Council will adjust your rates once Valuer General NSW have completed their review and provided Council with amended land values.

  • If the value of my land increases, does that mean Council's total rate income will also increase?

    No, Council’s rate income in total can only increase by the percentage increase (known as the rate peg or a Special Rate Variation) which is set by IPART.

    Changes to land valuations:

    • Affects the amount individual ratepayers contribute to the total rate income by causing a redistribution of the rates charged across categorised properties. 
    • Do not necessarily lead to similar increases/decreases in rates (i.e. individual rates may not go up and down in line with the property value)
    • Does not affect how much rates income is collected in total by Council.

     



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