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Rates postponement and remissions

Rates Postponement

Postponing Rates for Farmland

The objective here is to support the District Plan in encouraging owners of farmland to desist from subdividing their land for residential use.

To qualify, the rating unit must be classified as farmland for differential purposes.

The Council may charge an annual fee for the period the postponed rates remain unpaid. After five years, any postponed rates will be written off if the farmland hasn't been subdivided.

The Corporate Services Manager has delegated authority for approving applications.

Postponing Rates for the Elderly

The aim with this part of the policy is to assist elderly homeowners on fixed incomes with meeting their rates obligations.

Any deferred rates are postponed until one of the following occurs:

  • the death of the ratepayer(s)
  • the ratepayer(s) is no longer the owner or occupier of the property
  • the ratepayer(s) no longer uses the property as his or her residence
  • a date specified by the Council

The ratepayer must have owned the residential property for no less than five years and not own other rating units or investment properties - in Napier or elsewhere.

The Corporate Services Manager has delegated responsibility to consider applications on a case-by-case basis. Age, income, annual rates payable and equity in the property are taken into account.

The postponed rates are registered on the rating unit title, which means the Council has first call on the proceeds should the property be sold or leased.

Rates Remission

Remitting Penalties

In certain circumstances, the Council may remit penalties that apply to late rates payment. Its guiding principle is to act fairly and reasonably in treating each case on its merits.

Remission will be considered if the payment deadline isn't met because of circumstances beyond the ratepayer's control - the invoice wasn't received, for example, the payment has gone astray in the post or there may have been a death, illness or accident involving a family member at about the time rates were due.

The ratepayer's history of paying Napier rates on time and previous remissions are considered along with the application.

Remission may be granted if confusion over liability arises during a property transaction but not where professionals such as solicitors, accountants or trust companies fail to provide a professional service.

The Council's Finance Manager and Rating Supervisor have delegated responsibility for making decisions about remitting penalties.

Remitting Rates for Residential Land in Commercial or Industrial Areas

This part of the policy is aimed at ensuring owners of residential property in commercial and industrial areas aren't unduly penalised by zoning decisions.

If rates remission doesn't already apply, application should be made to the Council before the start of the rating year. It can't be backdated.

If the Corporate Services Manager approves the application, the Council arranges for a valuation based on a comparable rating unit elsewhere in the city. The ratepayer may be asked to contribute to the cost of this report. The valuer's decision isn't open to objection or appeal.

Remitting Rates for Land Subject to Special Preservation Conditions

This relates to land subject to heritage covenants and orders and open space and conservation covenants established under existing legislation. It also relates to any other covenant or agreement between the landowner and a public body to preserve existing land or building features where the conditions are registered against the title and are binding on subsequent landowners.

Applicants are required to apply in writing and provide supporting documentary evidence of the special preservation conditions.

The Council may set conditions, and applicants are required to agree in writing to these and to paying remitted rates if the conditions aren't met.

If the application is approved, the Council arranges for a valuation. The ratepayer may be asked to contribute to the cost of this report. The valuer's decision is final - there is no statutory right of objection or appeal.

The rates assessment will take into account any restriction on using the land imposed by the mandatory preservation requirements.

Remitting Uniform Annual Charges

This is aimed at relieving the financial burden for owner/s of two or more rating units that are part of a subdivision plan but are separate lots or have separate legal titles, or are contiguous or separated only by a road, railway, drain or waterway.

The rating units, owned by the same ratepayer, mightn't be used jointly as a single unit, and they don't benefit separately from the services covered by the Uniform Annual Charges.

Applications should be made in writing to the Corporate Services Manager.

Remitting Rates for Special Circumstances

The applicant is asked to outline in writing the special and unforeseen circumstances that apply for seeking relief by way of rates remission.

The Council considers each circumstance in the public excluded part of its meetings. Each application, and the terms and conditions of remission, are decided on a case-by-case


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