The Northern Territory Manual for Council Staff working with Rates and Charges
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dhcd.nt.gov.au Page 5 of 35 March 2017, version 12 Introduction Purpose of this manual All land within a local government area is rateable unless the land falls within specified exemptions. Section 140 of the Local Government Act states that the land in a local government area is divided into 3 basic categories: rateable land; conditionally rateable land; and land that is exempt from rates. Rates are specific to local government and there is little publicly available resource material for council rates staff. This manual is intended for use by council staff responsible for the administration of rates and has been prepared by the Department of Local Government and Community Services with the assistance of experienced rate administrators. It is hoped that this manual helps partially cover the resource gap in rates administration information. In this manual, the Local Government Act is abbreviated and referred to as the LGA. The importance of getting it right The legislation sets out the procedures required to ensure that a council's revenue raising powers are correctly utilised. Failure to follow the requirements could lead to the rates or charges being challenged. Rates and Charges Categorisation of land Categorisation in the rates declaration and the assessment record The intention of a rates declaration is that any ratepayer can look at it and know, with reference to the assessment record if necessary, how much they will have to pay for the coming financial year. A rates declaration should not be vague. It cannot be implemented if its contents or references are arguable. The rates declaration is inextricably associated with the assessment record. The assessment record should show amongst other things, the category and location of the relevant allotment without doubt. Where councils refer to the NT Planning Scheme and categorise by zones, this is quite straightforward. For other councils, it is imperative that land described generally or by category and general location (for example, residential at Willowra) is specifically identified by