Information and answers to many of the questions we receive about Rates is detailed below.  However if we haven’t covered something, or you would like to speak to someone direct please phone Shoalhaven City Councils Rates Department on (02) 4429 3210.

Please note Shoalhaven City Council rates are payable in full or by quarterly instalments with a range of payment options available. 

If paying your rates in full (and you do not receive a pension concession rebate on your rates) then you must pay your rates by 31st August each year to prevent interest being raised.

If paying your rates by instalment, the instalments must be made on or before the following dates to prevent interest being raised;  

  • 1st instalment 31 August
  • 2nd instalment 30 November
  • 3rd instalment 28 February
  • 4th instalment 31 May

If you are a pensioner receiving the pension concession rebate you can pay by instalments or pay in full without incurring interest up until 31st May each year.          

Why does council charge rates?

Council provides a wide range of services, which benefit the community. These include managing and maintaining expensive infrastructure such as local roads, the Library, Museums, sports stadium, sporting grounds, childcare centres, parks, playgrounds and street lighting. Council also provides services such as planning and development assessment, waste collection and economic development. One of the ways in which Council funds these services is through their statutory power to charge Council rates.

Rates account for the largest portion of Council funds. Fees and charges, and grants from the federal and state governments make up the balance.   

Return to top

How is my land categorised for rating - Residential, Business or Farmland?   

In accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act, 1993 Council must declare each parcel of rateable land to be within one of the following categories: Residential, Business, Farmland or Mining. Currently Council also has a number of sub categories dependant on the dominant use of the land; i.e. Farmland – Dairyfarmer, Residential – Non Urban, Business – Permit.

A rating category is determined purely on the dominant current use of your property. Categories do not change zonings, or permitted use or, create subdivision entitlements. The Act is very specific on the requirements for each category. Parcels of land that are unable to be categorised are placed in the default category of “Business” in accordance with the Local Government Act, 1993. If you wish to find out more about rating categories please contact (02) 4429 3210.

A ratepayer can, at any time apply for a change of rating category by completing a Change of Category Application Form. All applications are reviewed and processed in accordance with the Local Government Act, 1993 and any changes made will be in accordance with the relevant sections of the Act. You must notify Council within thirty (30) days if a change to your rating category occurs. Alternatively, Council periodically conducts audits and may change your rating category following such an event.

If you are dissatisfied with Council’s declaration of the category of your land after it has been reviewed, you may appeal to the Land & Environment Court within 30 days of the declaration being made, under Section 526 of the Local Government Act, 1993. Change of Category application  (PDF 17kb)

Return to top

How does Council calculate my rates?

When Council is preparing its budget for the new financial year, it considers how much revenue will be generated from rates and charges. Council is limited to a maximum percentage that can be raised from certain rates and charges. This restriction is called rate pegging and it is set by the Minister for Local Government each year.
Council uses a combination of a base amount and an ordinary rate. The ordinary rate is subject to an ad valorem being applied to the current value of the land. The base amount and ad valorem vary depending on which rating category your land belongs to.

The use of a base amount brings the higher and lower values closer together and in effect spreads the burden across the board to all ratepayers. The base amount can vary across rate category types but not within categories.

The ad valorem is the percentage amount per dollar applied to the value of the land. The ad valorem is calculated by taking into account total anticipated rates revenue and the average percentage increase in land values in the area. The ad valorem rate varies across the rate category types.        

Sample rate calculator
Base amount + (individual land value x ad valorem rate) = annual ordinary rates
For example: Mr Jones owns land in the residential rating category, which has been valued at $175,000 The base amount applicable is $414.05
The ad valorem rate for a residential property is 0.0017913

$414.05 + ($175,000 x $0.0017913) = $727.55

A landowner, whose land has increased in value, but where the percentage increase is less that the average percentage increase for the area, is likely to see a reduction in their ad valorem component. A landowner, whose land has increased in value such that the percentage increase is consistent with the average percentage increase, is likely to see little change in the ad valorem component of their ordinary rates. A landowner, whose percentage land value increase has exceeded the average percentage increase for land values may experience an increase in the ad valorem component of their ordinary rate.

Return to top

Can I be exempt from paying rates?

Some parcels of land are exempt from rates and charges. These include parcels of land within a national park or crown land and land that belongs to, for example, a religious body, school or recognised charity. Unless you meet the exemption criteria in the Local Government Act, you cannot be exempt from paying rates. 

Return to top

I  have made a payment to my rate account but it has not been deducted from my account, why?

If you have made a payment to your rate account and then received your rate notice and the balance indicates the payment has not come off, there could be a few reasons;  

  1. Check your notice; there is a paragraph on the front page that states ‘please deduct payments made since …’ the reason for this is we have extracted all your information from our computers on this day so we can produce the rate notice. Any payments made after this date will not appear on your notice but it will be on our system. 
  2. If the date you made the payment was prior to the ‘payments made since’ date and it still has not been deducted from your balance you will need to check your bank statement to see if the payment has been deducted from your bank account. 
  3. If the payment has been deducted from your bank account, the next thing to check is the method by which you paid! Did you provide the correct reference number to make the payment? Reference numbers are 8 digit numbers with all rate accounts starting with a ‘5’ while water accounts start with a ‘6’. The reference number is unique to your property and every property has its own number so if you have inadvertently used the reference number from your previous property then the payment may have been credited to the wrong rate account or your water account.

Please contact the rates staff on (02)4429 3210 immediately after you have checked with your bank if you think your payment has gone astray and provide as much detail as you can with regard to the payment. 

Return to top          

Can I have input into a proposed rate increase?

The Local Government Act, 1993 is quite specific in how Councils can increase rates and charges and before doing so must consult with the public extensively through public meetings and the annual draft operational delivery plan, which is usually, released around April or May each year. All submissions received by Council from the public regarding the upcoming financial years rates and charges are reported to Council and all submissions considered prior to adopting the plan.

This is your opportunity to raise any issues about the rates and charges proposed for the coming year as once the rates and charges have been adopted, they cannot be changed until the following year.

Councillors are aware of the burden any increase of rates and charges has on the community and any rate, charge or fee which needs to be increased is only done after all Councillors are satisfied in the increase in fees or charges is justified.

Return to top       
 

Goods & Services Tax (GST)

Council Rates and Domestic Waste Management charges are all exempt from the GST in accordance with A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) (Exempt Taxes, Fees and Charges) Determination 2001 (No. 4) Division 81.

Return to top         

What happens to payment of rates on settlement following a sale/purchase of a property?

Once the contract for sale of a property has taken place, the Solicitor/Conveyancer should request a 603 certificate from Council. This certificate is a notification of all outstanding monies owing on the property i.e. rates, water, kerb & gutter or effluent. At settlement time, the Solicitor/Conveyancer should contact Council and request an update to the 603 certificate as new rates, charges or interest may have been added to the account. Rates arrears not paid at the time of settlement remain the responsibility of the new property owner.

It is up to the purchaser, seller and Solicitor/Conveyancer to determine if rates and charges are paid in full for the whole of the remaining year at settlement or up to the next quarterly instalment date. It is always advisable to pay rates and charges for the whole of the year at settlement as the time delay in notifying Council of the sale by the Land Titles Office can mean the new owners do not receive their rate instalment notice causing payments to be missed and interest to be incurred.

Return to top        

Why am I still receiving rate notices after I have sold my property?

If you are still receiving rate notices for a property you NO longer own – please mark the envelope R.T.S (return to sender) with a date advising “Property Sold – DD/MM/YY”.

Council records can only be amended following receipt of a transfer document detailing the changes to the certificate of title from the Land Titles Office. Once a purchaser’s solicitor/bank lodges the advice with the Land Titles Office, they will notify council directly. Sometimes there can be a delay of anywhere up to 8 weeks – depending on how quickly the documents are lodged at the Land Titles Office.

We recommend that you contact your Solicitor to ensure the appropriate documents have been lodged with the Land Titles Office, as you remain responsible for all rates and charges until the actual title of the property has been changed. 

Return to top       

How do land valuations issued by the Valuer General affect my rates?

Land valuations are supplied by the Valuer General’s Office. All properties within the Shoalhaven are re-valued every (3) three years. Annual valuations granted by the Valuer General for the purpose of Land Tax cannot be used for the purpose of levying property rates.

All objections and/or appeals regarding the valuation of land must be directed to the Valuer General’s Office. Council cannot alter a valuation without instruction from the Valuer General. If you have an objection pending, the rates levied must be paid by the due date indicated on the rate notice. Once the objection is determined and Council is advised of the amended land value, the rates will be adjusted and the ratepayer advised.

Contact information for Valuer General:
Phone:     8:30am to 5:00pm Mon – Fri 1800 110 038
Fax:        (02) 6332 8399
Email:      valuation.enquiries@lands.nsw.gov.au
Web:       http://www.lpma.nsw.gov.au/valuation/valuation (new window)
Interpreter service available: 13 14 50

Return to top
 

What if I don’t agree with the land value of my property?

Councils do not determine the land value of your property. Land is valued by the Office of NSW Valuer General. These valuations are conducted for Shoalhaven City Council every 3 years and you will receive a valuation notice from them after it is completed.

If you do not agree with the land value, you have 60 days to object to the Valuer General. To contact the Valuer General please call 1800 110 038 or for more information go the Valuer General website (new window) which provides more detailed information.
Even if you lodge an objection, you must still pay your rates while your objection is being considered.

Return to top

When must I have my rates paid each year & what will happen if I am late with my payment?

If your payment has not reached Council by the due date, you will incur interest on you rate account. The interest charge is simple interest calculated daily on the overdue amount. The amount of interest charged is noted on your rate notice and can vary each year. The interest rate is determined each year by IPART and published in the Government Gazette.

Council has a debt recovery policy and this will be implemented if you have not made any contact with Council to discuss your circumstances. With some 55,000 ratepayers, council staff do not have the resources to personally contact ratepayers if a payment is not received. The responsibility remains with the ratepayer to make their payments on time or contact council and advise them of any problems so arrangements or an agreement can be put in place.

Rates must be paid in full by 31st August every year unless paying by instalments. If paying by instalments than a quarterly payment must be received by 31st August, 30th November, 28th February and 31st May each year in accordance with the Local Government Act, 1993.

Return to top
 

What if I am having difficulties paying my rates?

Council recognises that some ratepayers may experience financial difficulties in meeting their rate commitments on time. A ratepayer may at any time make arrangements to pay off their outstanding accounts by regular payments, subject to the following guidelines:

  • All agreements must be in writing and signed.
  • The amount and frequency of the payments under the agreement are to be acceptable to council.
  • Agreements should, where possible, seek to have the outstanding rates and annual charges cleared by the end of the current financial year.
  • Current rates and charges are to be paid when they fall due in addition to the arrangement plan where possible.
  • All arrangements are in accordance with council policy and will be reviewed on regular basis.

To apply for An Agreement to Pay Rates & Charges, (PDF 224kb) simply complete the application and return it to Council.

Council can also provide a hardship application for those people in severe financial distress. To discuss the provisions for hardship please contact council staff direct on (02)4429 3210. Please note the hardship provision is only applicable for the property you reside in, it does not cover vacant land or investment properties. 

Return to top

How to notify Council of your change of address

It is the policy of Shoalhaven City Council to only accept a change of address in writing for the protection of the property owner. Notification can be in the form of a letter, fax or email. Property owners can also take advantage of the online change of address option if preferred. If all departments within Council are to reflect the change of address, your intentions must be stated in your notification. The records department will then advise those departments. Otherwise, only the rates and water database will reflect the change of address.  Do you want to download a Change of Address Form? (PDF 202kb)

A change of address will not be accepted if verbally given to Council Officers. It is the responsibility of the owner/ratepayer to ensure the mailing address held by council is correct.

When a property transfers ownership, the liability for payment of rates and/or other accounts remain with the property. The new owner’s details are updated once a “Notice of Sale” is received from the Land Titles Office, which can take six to eight weeks after settlement.

Return to top         
 

How to notify Council that you want to change your name on your rate notice

If you have changed your name and would like Council to amend its records, you will need to change the ownership name on the certificate of title, this will need to be changed through your Solicitor or directly with the Department of Land and Property Information who will then inform Council. Land & Property Information can be contacted on 1300 052 637 or generalenquiry@lpi.nsw.gov.au.



Return to top      
 

Waste management & the new works waste management charge explained

The Local Government Act requires councils to levy an annual charge for providing domestic waste management services to all parcels of rateable land for which the service is available, whether or not it is actually used. The Local Government Act, 1993 allows all property owners to contribute to the current and future provisions of waste services.

Your weekly service is for a standard 120 Litre bin, 80 litre bin or 240 litre bin along with a 240 litre recyclable bin, which is collected fortnightly. Waste collection bins remain the property of the Council and must not be removed from the property when you relocate.

Vacant blocks of land are charged a New Works Waste Management charge in accordance with the Local Government Act where the waste service is/could be available.

The NSW State Government introduced a levy on waste collection a few years ago and this portion of your total waste management charge appears separately on your rate notice for easy identification.

Pro rata adjustments due to changes in bin sizes will apply on a quarterly basis – not the date of change - following advice from the Waste Services Department. If you are unsatisfied with the size of your bin and would like it changed an administration fee will be charged.

For all enquiries regarding your waste service, please contact the Waste Hotline on (02) 4429 3374. 

Return to top     

What is stormwater & why do I have to pay it?

Stormwater is rainwater that flows off land. When it rains, some stormwater is collected from your roof, driveways or paved and landscaped areas. It flows over land, or through the pipes and drains to the existing public stormwater system and into our creeks.

All levels of Government have acknowledged that traditional funding sources are not enough to maintain key public infrastructure in an adequate and safe condition so the State Government amended the Local Government Act a few years ago to provide Councils with the ability to implement a program of major improvements to stormwater management, funded by a Stormwater Levy. This decision reflects the fact that Councils need additional funds, beyond their usual budget, to be able to undertake this large amount of work.

Shoalhaven City is one of the high population growth areas in NSW, this leads to development pressure in the City’s urban areas, many of which are located close to the City’s main water bodies such as rivers, bays, lakes and the ocean. Additional development can lead to increasing nutrient and sediment loads to the creeks, rivers and estuaries. This potential is compounded by the increase in population during holiday periods. Therefore, Shoalhaven City Council has developed a plan to provide more effective management of our urban stormwater, thereby contributing to environmental protection. The Stormwater Management Plan covers all urban areas in the City with a resident population that exceeds 1,000 people. 

Return to top
  

Contact Us

(02) 4429 3111
council@shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au
P.O. Box 42, Nowra NSW 2541 Australia
View All Contact Details

Meetings & Agendas

View all agendas and minutes for Council and Committee meetings.
Agendas & Minutes

Newsletter Signup

Signup for our In Your Neighbourhood newsletter.

Copyright 2016 Shoalhaven City Council
Copyright  |   Privacy  |   Site Map