Rates assistance

Pensioner assistance

The following forms of assistance are available to eligible pensioners.  Full details of the schemes can be obtained from the ACT Revenue Office.

Changes to the Eligibility for the Commonwealth Age Pension

The Commonwealth Government decides who is eligible to receive Pensions, and how much they are entitled to, based on their assets and income.

On 1 January 2017, the Commonwealth Government changed the eligibility criteria for the Age Pension.  These changes mean some people will no longer be eligible to receive Age Pension payments.

The Commonwealth Government’s changes only apply to people who have significant assets apart from their family home.  For example, the pension threshold for a couple with assets in addition to their family home is now $816,000.

People who are no longer eligible for the Age Pension will be notified by Centrelink.  

Pension eligibility determines access to local concession schemes, including the ACT Pensioner General Rates Rebate and the Fire and Emergency Services Levy Rebate.  ACT residents who become ineligible for the Age Pension as a result of the Commonwealth Government’s changes will no longer qualify for these rebates.

Because the Commonwealth’s changes have taken effect halfway through the year, the ACT Government is offering a six-month waiver of any additional rates charges. Pensioners who qualified for these rebates last year will continue to receive them until 30 June 2017.  

Canberrans who continue to be eligible for the Age Pension after 30 June 2017 will continue to qualify for ACT concession schemes.

The ACT Revenue Office will contact relevant people to seek clarification of their eligibility for these rebates in future years. This will be done well in advance of 2017-18 rates bills being issued.

In the meantime, if you would like to notify us of a change in eligibility for the Age Pension please use the electronic form Pensioner Rates Rebate Smart Form or the Pensioner Rates Rebate Notification Form [RTF, 371Kb], [PDF, 197Kb] and email PPD@act,gov.au.

If you have any questions please contact the ACT Revenue Office – 6207 0028 (option1) or email PPD@act.gov.au. For more information about the Commonwealth Government’s changes to the Age Pension visit  www.humanservices.gov.au.

Rebate

From 1 July 2016 the ‘uncapped’ scheme will be frozen at 2015-16 levels where the value exceeds the rebate cap of $700.  This scheme applies to you if you were eligible for the rebate on 30 June 1997.

Households eligible for the uncapped General Rates Concession receive 50 per cent rebate on their general rates, up to the value of the concession received in 2015-16.  Households at or below the rebate cap will continue to receive a 50 per cent rebate on their general rates up to a maximum of $700.

Property owners, who receive a Commonwealth Government or Department of Veterans' Affairs pension with entitlement to a Pensioner Concession Card, or a War Veteran's pension, may be eligible for the rebate.  Rebate assistance is limited to a pensioner's principal place of residence.

Pensioners in receipt of a rebate on the Fire and Emergency Services Levy in 2015-16 will continue to receive a rebate in 2016-17 on their portion of the FESL, capped at $98.  The total FESL amount for 2016-17 is $252.

If you become a pensioner during the year you should contact us as soon as possible to determine your eligibility for a rebate.  To apply for a rebate please use one of the following application forms:

Applications for a rebate of 2016-17 rates must be received by 30 June 2017.

If you are currently receiving a pensioner rebate of rates for a particular property and you cease to be an eligible pensioner, or you no longer reside in that property, then you must advise of the changed circumstances so that your rebate can be adjusted accordingly.

For further information on the Rates changes and the ACT Budget 2016-17, please visit:  www.act.gov.au/budget

Moving Home

If you belong to an ‘uncapped’ household and are moving, your concession will remain the same or be 50 per cent of the new property, depending on which is lower.

Buying a New Home Example:

If you are already on the ‘uncapped’ scheme, and you receive a $1,200 concession in 2015-16, your concession is frozen at $1,200.

Should you then move to a new property with a rates assessment of $2,000, then your new concession will be a maximum of $1,000 (half the cost of $2,000). Your maximum concession would remain at $1,200 if your new property had a rates assessment of $2,500.

Deferment

In addition to obtaining a rebate, eligible pensioners may defer all or part of the balance of their total rates charges after the rebate has been deducted.  A relatively low rate of simple interest is charged on deferred amounts.  To apply for a deferral of charges please use the Rates Deferral (Pensioner) Application Form (external site).

Special Disability Trust assistance

The following forms of assistance are available to eligible Special Disability Trusts.  Full details of the schemes can be obtained from the ACT Revenue Office.

Rebate

From 1 July 2016 the ‘uncapped’ scheme will be frozen at 2015-16 levels where the value exceeds the rebate cap of $700.  This scheme applies to you if you were eligible for the rebate on 30 June 1997.

A Special Disability Trust that owns a property in trust for a beneficiary may be eligible for a rebate.

Rebate assistance is limited to the beneficiary's principal place of residence and to a maximum concession of $700 per property for all new applicants in 2016-17.  

From 1 July 2016 the ‘uncapped’ scheme will be frozen at the 2015-16 levels where the value exceeds the rebate cap of $700, for the Special Disability Trusts established prior to 1 July 1997.

If a Special Disability Trust becomes eligible during the year, the Trustee should contact us as soon as possible to obtain an application form.  Applications for a rebate of 2016-17 rates must be received by 30 June 2017.

Deferment

In addition to obtaining a rebate, eligible Special Disability Trusts may defer all or part of the balance of their total rates charges after the rebate has been deducted.  A relatively low rate of simple interest is charged on deferred amounts.  To apply for a deferral of charges please use the Rates Deferral (Pensioner) Application Form (external site).

Hardship assistance

Deferment

Property owners receiving unemployment or other benefits, or suffering substantial financial hardship, can apply to defer payment of the rates charges for their home.  A relatively low rate of simple interest is charged on deferred amounts.  To apply for a deferral of charges please use the Rates Deferral (Hardship) Application Form (external site).

Aged assistance

Deferment

From 1 July 2016, the income threshold amount and the unimproved value of the property has changed.

Property owners that meet the following criteria may defer indefinitely their rates charges:

  • aged 65 and over;  and
  • the combined income of all property owners must be below the annual average earnings of $89,300;  and
  • the unimproved value of the property must be higher than the 80th percentile value $442,000;  and
  • property owners must have at least 75% equity in their home.

The instrument can be found at: http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/di/2016-148/default.asp and it sets the criteria for the scheme.

A relatively low rate of simple interest is charged on deferred amounts.  To apply for a deferment of rates charges please use the Rate Deferral (Aged) Application Form [RTF, 279Kb], [PDF, 99Kb].

The property and income threshold amount for the period 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016 continues to apply. For details please visit: http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/di/2015-225/default.asp

Relevant links

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