Deferred Rate Declaration — but what about rate payment dates?

LG Leader August 2020

On 30 April 2020, the now former LG Minister varied section 153(5)(b) of the Local Government Act 1999 to enable councils to declare rates, except in cases of extraordinary administrative difficulty, up to 30 November 2020. The same extension was also provided in respect of the annual business plan and budget. In practical terms, this provides councils with an additional three months to adopt the ABP and budget and to undertake the rate declaration process.

However, rate instalments fall due in four equal or approximately equal instalments in September, December, March and June noting that the first quarterly payment date precedes the last date upon which the adoption and declaration process can occur. It is, therefore, relevant to note section 181(3) which provides for councils to adjust the months in which instalments would otherwise be payable, taking into account what is reasonable in the circumstances.

Any council that declares rates in circumstances where it is then necessary to adjust the instalment dates, should be aware of the requirement at section 181(7) of the Act. This subsection provides that rates notices must be sent to the ratepayer at least 30 days before an instalment falls due. Meaning that for any council that declares rates in September, October or November, will need to make the necessary adjustment under section 181(3) of the Act, equalising the four instalments over the balance of the year. This also means that, whilst the number of days between each instalment will be less than is ordinarily the case, it is still necessary to ensure that rates notices that are sent out to the ratepayer must provide at least 30 days to pay the relevant instalment.

For further information please contact Natasha Jones on or 08 8113 7102.