Rates assistance

The ACT Government provides various forms of assistance for paying rates:

Pensioner assistance

The Commonwealth Government decides who’s eligible to receive pensions, and how much they’re entitled to, based on their assets and income.

Rebates

If you’re a property owner who receives a Commonwealth Government or Department of Veterans' Affairs pension and are entitled to a Pensioner Concession Card or a War Veteran's pension, you may be eligible for the pensioner rates rebate. Rebate assistance applies only to your principal residence.

The pensioner rates rebate is a 50 per cent rebate on your rates up to a cap of $700.

If you have been continuously eligible for the rebate since 30 June 1997, you are covered by a different rebate scheme. The amount of your rebate is 50 per cent of your rates, but your rebate capped at the 2015–16 level if it exceeded $700 in that year.

Eligible property owners also receive a partial rebate of $98 for the Fire and Emergency Services Levy.

If you become a pensioner during the year, contact us as soon as possible to determine whether you’re eligible for a rebate. To apply for a rebate, please complete the Pensioner Rates Rebate Application.

Applications for a 2016–17 rates rebate must be submitted by 30 June 2017.

Changing circumstances

If you’re currently receiving a pensioner rates rebate for a particular property and you cease to be an eligible pensioner or you move to a new property, then you must notify us of your changed circumstances so we can adjust your rebate accordingly.

If you have been continuously eligible for the rebate since 30 June 1997 and are moving, the cap for your rebate will remain the same, at the 2015–16 level for your old property, or be 50 per cent of the rates assessment for your new property – whichever is lower.

For example, if you received a $1,200 concession in 2015–16, your concession stays frozen at $1,200. If 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

If you’re an eligible pensioner, in addition to getting a rebate, you may defer payment of all or part of the balance of your total rates charges after you’ve deducted the rebate. We charge a relatively low rate of interest on deferred amounts.

Apply for a deferral of charges by completing the Rates Deferral (Pensioner) Application.

Changes to the eligibility for the aged pension

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 for Age Pension payments.

The changes apply only to people with 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.

Centrelink will notify people who are no longer eligible for the Age Pension.

Pension eligibility also determines whether you have access to local concession schemes, such as rates assistance and the Fire and Emergency Services Levy (FESL) 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 you to confirm your eligibility for these rebates well in advance of issuing the 2017–18 rates bills.

In the meantime, if you’d like to notify us of a change in eligibility for the Age Pension, please complete the Pensioner Rates Rebate Notification form. If you have questions, please feel free to contact us.

Aged assistance

From 1 July 2017, if you’re a property owner and you meet all of the following criteria, you may indefinitely defer your rates charges:

We charge a relatively low rate of interest on deferred amounts. The income threshold amount and the unimproved land value are updated every year.

To apply for a deferment of rates charges, please complete the Rates Deferral (Aged) Application.

For details of the property and income threshold amounts, view the Rates (Deferral) Determination legislation.

Special disability trust assistance

The following forms of assistance are available to eligible special disability trusts.

Rebate

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 residence and to a maximum concession of $700 per property for all new applicants in 2016–17.

As of 1 July 2016, for special disability trusts established before 1 July 1997, the uncapped rebate scheme remains frozen at 2015–16 levels when the value exceeds the rebate cap of $700. This scheme applies to you if the trust has been continuously eligible for the rebate since 30 June 1997.

If a special disability trust becomes eligible during the year, the trustee should contact us as soon as possible to get an application form. Trustees should return the application to the Commissioner for ACT Revenue either by email or by post to:

ACT Revenue Office
PO Box 293
Civic Square ACT 2608

We must receive applications for a 2016–17 rates rebate by 30 June 2017.

Deferment

In addition to getting a rebate, eligible special disability trusts may defer all or part of the balance of their total rates charges after they’ve deducted the rebate. We charge a relatively low rate of interest on deferred amounts.

To apply for a deferral of charges, please complete the Rates Deferral (Pensioner) Application.

Hardship assistance

Deferment

If you’re a property owner and you’re receiving unemployment or other benefits, or suffering significant financial hardship, you can apply to defer payment of the rates charges for your home. We charge a relatively low rate of interest on deferred amounts.

To apply for a deferral of charges, please complete the Rates Deferral (Hardship) Application