BYRON SHIRE COUNCIL

                                                                                                                               13.5 - Attachment 3

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Draft Management Procedure:

Rates and Charges Administrative Guidelines

2016

 

 

 


BYRON SHIRE COUNCIL

                                                                                                                               13.5 - Attachment 3

INFORMATION ABOUT THIS DOCUMENT

 

Date Endorsed by ET

 

Document Reference Number of Endorsement

 

Document Owner

Director Corporate and Community Services

Document Development Officer

Revenue Coordinator

Review Timeframe

4 years

Last Review Date:

 

Next Scheduled Review Date

 

 

Document History

Doc No.

Date Amended

Details/Comments eg Resolution No.

E2016/102051

22/11/2016

NEW

 

Further Document Information and Relationships

 

Related Legislation*

Local Government Act 1993 (LGA)

Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 (LGR)

Related Policies

Rates and Charges Pensioner Concessions – Document No.

Rates and Charges Financial Hardship Assistance – Document No.

Related Procedures/ Protocols, Statements, documents

Council’s annually adopted Revenue Policy Statement (IP&R documentation)

Application to defer rates and charges against the estate – Doc No. NEW

 

Note: Any reference to Legislation will be updated in the Management Procedure as required. See website http://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/ for current Acts, Regulations and Environmental Planning Instruments.

 


BYRON SHIRE COUNCIL

                                                                                                                               13.5 - Attachment 3

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

1.      OBJECTIVES.. 2

2.      SCOPE.. 2

3.      DEFINITIONS.. 2

4.      STATEMENT.. 2

5.      PENSIONER CONCESSIONS.. 2

5.1. Eligibility reviews. 2

5.2. Extension of concession to avoid hardship. 2

6.      FINANCIAL HARDSHIP ASSISTANCE.. 3

6.1. Processing Applications. 3

6.2. Payment Agreements – Financial hardship assistance approved. 3

6.3. Payment Agreements – Writing off interest charges. 3

6.4. Deferral of rates and charges against the estate. 3

7.      PAYMENT AGREEMENTS (ratepayers ineligible for hardship assistance) 4

7.1. General Terms. 4

7.2. Agreements in cases where a property is for genuine sale. 5

 


 

1.    OBJECTIVES

 

To provide clear and equitable guidelines for administering various rates and charges matters that supports legislation and Council policies.

 

 

2.    SCOPE

 

This policy is to guide decision making of staff and affects all ratepayers.

 

 

3.    DEFINITIONS

 

LGA

Local Government Act 1993

LGR

Local Government (General) Regulation 2005

Substantially Honoured Agreement

Means within a 90% variation of the original agreement, unless the ratepayer contacts Council to renegotiate a variation to the agreement if they are unable to meet the original terms and conditions imposed, which is then approved by Council.

 

 

4.    STATEMENT

 

Each sub section below covers broad matters that are administered by rating staff.

 

5.    PENSIONER CONCESSIONS

 

5.1. Eligibility reviews

 

A review of the eligibility status of eligible pensioners will be conducted via the Centrelink confirmation service at least once per annum during June prior to the levying of new year rates and charges.

 

Retrospective adjustments will not be processed except in the case of a review of a fraudulent claim.

 

 

5.2. Extension of concession to avoid hardship

 

Council has the discretion to make an order under section 577 to extend a pensioner concession up to the maximum legislative mandatory limit in cases where eligible and non-eligible ratepayers reside at the property to avoid financial hardship.

 

Application must be made on the prescribed form (clause 135 of the LGR) and will be considered on a case by case basis.

 

Applications will be determined by the Revenue Coordinator.

 


 

6.    FINANCIAL HARDSHIP ASSISTANCE

 

6.1. Processing Applications

 

All financial hardship assistance applications must complete the prescribed application form.

 

Council will assess each application using similar eligibility criteria that Centrelink utilises in assessing pensioner concession card eligibility and may seek further information or documentation from the ratepayer in order to make a satisfactory determination.

 

Eligibility determinations will be processed by Council’s Revenue Coordinator and approved by the Manager Finance, with the exception of deferrals against the estate of pensioners, to be approved by the Council.

 

Once approved, the Revenue Coordinator will negotiate terms and conditions of the financial assistance proposed to be provided and confirm the agreed terms and conditions in writing to the ratepayer. It is the ratepayer’s responsibility to communicate with Council if they are unable to honour the agreement for any reason.

 

 

6.2. Payment Agreements – Financial hardship assistance approved

 

Council will negotiate a suitable regular periodical payment agreement with a ratepayer once their eligibility for financial hardship assistance has been approved.

 

Agreements not substantially honoured may be cancelled and all overdue rates and charges will then be recovered by following provisions within Council’s Debt Recovery policy.

 

Substantially honoured means within a 90% variation of the original agreement, unless the ratepayer contacts Council to renegotiate a variation to the agreement if they are unable to meet the original terms and conditions imposed, which is then approved by Council.

 

The agreement will be cancelled upon change of ownership, if the property is subdivided or if the ratepayer no longer resides at the property.

 

6.3. Payment Agreements – Writing off interest charges

 

Council will write off all accrued interest from the date of the application to the expiry date of the agreement providing the ratepayer substantially complies with the terms and conditions of the agreement. Compliance reviews and interest write offs will be undertaken every 6 months from the agreement commencement date and at the agreement expiry date. Interest written off previously will not be retrospectively reversed due to future non-compliance.

 

6.4. Deferral of rates and charges against the estate

 

Applications for a deferral of rates and charges against the estate must be made by completing Council’s Application to Defer Rates and Charges against the Estate form.

 

 

Agreements will be cancelled if the ownership of the property changes, the ratepayer ceases to be an eligible pensioner, the property is subdivided, the property or part of the property is rented, or the property ceases to be the ratepayer’s principal place of abode (except in cases where the ratepayer may reside in a health care facility on a temporary basis up to a period of six months).

7.    PAYMENT AGREEMENTS (ratepayers ineligible for hardship assistance)

 

7.1. General Terms

 

Council will generally accept periodic payment agreements or payment extension requests via the following method based on the ratepayer’s history however, may require any requests to be made in writing;

 

·    Verbally – For ratepayers that seldom request payment agreements or ratepayers that have consistently and substantially honoured previous agreements. Terms of the agreement will be recorded on the rating assessment file as a notation but may not be confirmed in writing with the ratepayer unless requested.

 

·    In writing (includes email) – For longer term payment agreement requests and requests made by ratepayers with a history of non-compliance. We will confirm the terms and conditions of the agreement in writing (includes email).

 

Payment arrangements will be negotiated with all ratepayers that may be experiencing short term financial difficulties. Ratepayers experiencing genuine financial hardship can apply for a range of assistance in accordance with our Rates and Charges Financial Hardship Assistance policy.

 

Council may request documentation form the ratepayer to support their request at Council’s discretion.

 

Interest charges will apply at the maximum rate adopted by Council.

 

Council will attempt to negotiate a regular periodic payment plan (weekly, fortnightly or monthly payments) that results in arrears being caught up as soon as possible.

 

In most cases a maximum term of 12 months will be accepted with terms outside this to be approved by the Revenue Coordinator.

 

Council may agree to short term temporary agreements up to a 6 month term where the payment level would never catch up arrears and current rates and charges for ratepayers experiencing short term financial difficulties. Interest charges will apply at the maximum rate adopted by Council.

 

Agreements not substantially honoured may be cancelled and all overdue rates and charges will then be recovered by following provisions within Council’s Debt Recovery policy.

 

Council may refuse an application for a periodical payment agreement if the ratepayer has consistently not honoured previous agreements.

 

A payment agreement will not be accepted if the property is in the process of being sold under section 713 of the LGA.

 


 

7.2. Agreements in cases where a property is for genuine sale

 

Council will consider deferring payment or making a payment agreement for a term of up to 6 months that is not suitable to catch up arrears over time in cases where a property is for genuine sale.

 

The ratepayer must provide documented proof of genuine sale and agree to pay all overdue rates and charges within 14 days of the sale settlement for all properties owned by the ratepayer (or ratepayer’s company) within Byron Shire.

 

For properties where legal debt recovery has commenced, acceptance of a payment agreement request will be considered on a case by case basis and determined by the Revenue Coordinator.