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 rebate is based on the interests in the property. If there are two people on the title of the property and they are both eligible for the pension, the household will receive the full rebate. If there is only one person eligible for the pension concession, the household will receive a 50 per cent rebate.

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.

We must receive applications for a 2018–19 rates rebate by 30 June 2019.

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. To apply, complete and return the Rates Deferral (Pensioner) Application Form 392KB with all supporting documentation attached to the ACT Revenue Office

Aged assistance

From 1 July 2018, if you’re a property owner aged 65 or over and you own at least 75 per cent equity in your home, you may indefinitely defer your rates charges. We charge a relatively low rate of interest on deferred amounts. To apply, complete and return the Rates Deferral (Aged) Application Form 391KB with all supporting documentation attached to the ACT Revenue Office.

Special disability trust assistance

The following assistance is 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 2018–19 rates rebate by 30 June 2019.

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, complete and return the Rates Deferral (Special Disability Trust) Application Form 393KB with all supporting documentation attached to ACT Revenue Office.

Hardship assistance

Deferment

If you’re a property owner and you’re receiving unemployment or other Government 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, complete and return the Rates Deferral (Hardship) Application Form 431KB with all supporting documentation attached to the ACT Revenue Office.

Where the Commissioner for ACT Revenue assesses a customer’s eligibility for hardship assistance, we will take the following factors into account when considering whether a transaction is likely to result in substantial hardship.

It will not be considered financial hardship where an applicant chooses not to meet a liability for an unpaid debt. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of potentially relevant factors. In determining whether a situation involves substantial hardship, the presence (or absence) of any one or more of the listed factors is not conclusive.

Scenario 1

The applicants are a young couple Taylor and Adrian.  At the time they purchased their property they reasonably expected that they would be able to meet their obligations as they had two incomes as well as savings.

However Taylor was since involved in an accident and was permanently unable to walk.  In order for Taylor to live in the property they had to make substantial alterations which exhausted their savings.  Additionally, with only one income it was difficult to meet their ongoing fixed expenses.  As a result they had accumulated a rates debt.

After seeking assistance from various avenues, including unsuccessfully applying for a loan and after contacting independent debt counselling services, the applicant sought assistance from the Commissioner.  The Commissioner determined that the couple had experienced factors beyond their control, had taken all reasonable steps available to them and that payment of rates would cause undue hardship.  Therefore assistance available to the couple included deferment.

Scenario 2

The applicant, Bill, accumulated a large rates debt.  They had made minimal payments and as a result the Commissioner had commenced legal debt recovery proceedings.  At that point, Bill then applied to the Commissioner, seeking deferment of the debt, stating hardship grounds because their expenses far exceeded their income. 

After reviewing their income and expenditure history, it was noted that while their expenses regularly exceeded their income, a significant percentage of the expenditure related to discretionary items such as travel and entertainment.  In the absence of these expenses, their income would exceed fixed expenses including rates. 

In this case the Commissioner found that the applicant was not experiencing hardship and that therefore any assistance provided would not include deferment.  However assistance provided may include an instalment plan, with interest payable at the rate set out under the Act, to enable Bill some time to reorganise their finances.

Interest on rates deferment