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.
When assessing a customer’s eligibility for hardship assistance, we consider the following:
- Is the property the applicant’s principal place of residence?
- Is the customer on a Centrelink Income or holds a Centrelink low Income Health Care Card?
- Has the customer been referred by an accredited financial counselor or welfare agency?
- What available funds does the customer have?
- How many dependents do they have?
- Are there any unforeseen events?
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.
To apply, complete and submit to the ACT Revenue Office a Rates Deferral (Hardship) Application Form with all supporting documentation attached.
We charge a relatively low interest rate on deferred amounts, simple Interest applies on the amount that has been deferred.
The interest rate is variable and is updated every July and January in alignment with the monthly average 90 day Bank Accepted Bill rate issued by the Reserve Bank of Australia.
Examples of financial hardship
When Taylor and Kristen purchased a home in the ACT, they had two incomes and additional savings.
Taylor was involved in an accident that left her permanently unable to work. For Taylor to live in their home, substantial renovations were needed; this exhausted all their savings. Additionally, with only one income it was difficult to meet their regular expenses and they accumulated a large rates debt.
After seeking financial assistance, including applying for a loan and seeking independent financial advice, Taylor and Kristen sought a rates deferral.
The ACT Revenue Office determined that the couple had experienced major financial hardship due to factors beyond their control and had taken all reasonable steps available to them to assist them with their financial hardship.
The rates deferral application for Taylor and Kristen was successful.
Kris accumulated a large rates debt. Only minimal payments were made towards rates and, as a result, the Commissioner for ACT Revenue commenced debt recovery action.
Kris applied for deferment of the debt on the grounds of financial hardship. The application identified that the expenses exceeded the total income and most of the expenses related to luxury items such as travel and entertainment.
In this case, the Commissioner for ACT Revenue found that the applicant (Kris) was not experiencing financial hardship and the rates deferment application is declined.
An instalment plan was offered to Kris where payment of the rates debt, in regular instalments, could be made over time, until Kris regained financial control.