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Rates postponement and remissions

Rates Postponement

A Rates Postponement means that the requirement to pay rates have been delayed for a set timeframe. A postponement can apply to a particular instalment, or until certain conditions are met.

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. 

The Director of Corporate Services, Chief Financial Officer and Investment & Funding Manager have been delegated authority for approving applications.

The aim with this part of the policy is to assist ratepayers who are older persons on fixed incomes with meeting their rates obligations. 

Any deferred rates are postponed until on 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 use the property as his or her residence
  • a date specified by the Council 

The ratepayer must not own other rating units or investment properties - in Napier or elsewhere.

The Director of Corporate Services, Chief Financial Officer and Investment & Funding Managers have been 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.

The aim of this policy is to enable Council to provide rates postponement for special and unforeseen circumstances. 

Applications for rates postponement must be made in writing by the ratepayer or their authorised agent. Each circumstance will be considered by Council on a case by case basis. Where necessary, Council consideration and decision will be made during the Public Excluded part of a Council meeting.

The terms and conditions of postponement including any application of an annual fee will be decided by Council on a case by case basis.

The applicant will be advised in writing of the outcome of the application.

Rates Remission

A Rates Remission means that a discount is applied to rates or associated penalties. For example, a full remission on a rates penalty means that the rates penalty is no longer owed. A rates remission will usually apply to a specific rates instalment or penalty.

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 Rates Coordinator has delegated responsibility for making decisions about remitting penalties.

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 Investment & Funding 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.

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.

This is aimed at providing for relief from UAGC and Targeted Rates of a fixed amount per Rating Unit or Seperately Used or Inhabited Parts of a Rating Unit, where two or more Rating Units are owned by the same person or persons, and are: 

  • part of a subdivision plan which has been deposited for separate lots, or separate legal titles exist; or
  • but the Rating Units may not necessarily be used jointly as a single unit, and each Rating Unit does not benefit separately from the services related to the UAGC and Targeted Rates.

In this policy, contiguous legal titles also includes land that may 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 Chief Financial Officer.

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 basis. 

The applicants will be advised in writing of the outcome of the application. 

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