Rates FAQs

Why do I have to pay rates?

Council administers various laws and regulations to help maintain and improve services and facilities for the community. These services may include community services, sporting and recreation services, environmental planning, public health, environmental protection, waste collection, road maintenance and safety. The rates you pay allow Council to fund these services.

A full list of capital works planned for the year and our priority spend areas can be found in Council's Operational Plan.

What types of rates does Ku-ring-gai Council levy?

There are three types of rates levied by council: ordinary rates, special rates and charges.

Can I find out how much I have to pay before I receive my rates notice?

Before the final rate amounts are fixed, Council prepares a draft Operational Plan.

This plan is placed on public exhibition for 28 days during which the public is able to make comment via a submission regarding the rates, charges and fees proposed by Council.

The exhibition period usually commences during April or May each year. After consideration of the submissions, Council formally adopts the Operational Plan along with the rates, charges and fees applicable for the coming year.

Ordinary rates

Ordinary rates are used to provide essential services such as the road network, street lighting, street cleaning, footpaths, parks, sport and recreation facilities, environmental planning and conservation, city rangers, pest control, libraries, town planning and building control, community services, and much more.

Council is required to make and levy an ordinary rate for each year on all rateable land in its area. This is a mandatory requirement.

Special rates and other charges

Special rates can be used to fund specific local benefit programs such as activity to increase business or to promote an area.

More information

What is rate pegging?

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) sets the amount that NSW Councils can increase rates each year, in line with inflation and other considerations.

IPART has set the 2020-21 rate peg for NSW councils at 2.6%. This means that Council’s total rate income is capped each year.

Can Council increase its income by more than the rate peg limit?

Yes. Under the Local Government Act 1993, councils are able to apply for additional increases in general income beyond the annual rate peg amount. This is referred to as a ‘special rate variation’ (SRV). Under the Act, councils may apply for a single year increase under section 508(2), or a multi-year increase (of between two and seven years) under section 508A. The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has delegated responsibility for assessing and determining special rate variations.

Councils may seek a special rate variation to undertake environmental works, fund town improvements, redevelop community and civic facilities, address maintenance backlogs and maintain or improve existing service provision. Councils seeking special variations above the rate peg amount are required to submit applications to IPART for review and assessment. If a SRV application is approved, IPART determine the final percentage increase.

How does my land valuation affect my rates?

The NSW Valuer General is the statutory independent valuing authority in NSW. The valuation process is something Council cannot influence. Land is valued by the Valuer General under the Valuation of Land Act 1916. These valuations are carried out approximately every three years and you should get a valuation notice after it is done. The latest valuation notice is scheduled to be issued in March/April 2020.

All Ku-ring-gai Council properties were revalued as at 1 July 2019 and these new values must be used for rating from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2023. Ordinary rates are made up of a variable rate based on the land value of individual properties in proportion to the total value of all land in the Local Government Area. A minimum payable amount applies.

I don’t agree with the value of my property

You have 60 days to submit an objection to the NSW Valuer General. You will still have to pay rates while your objection is considered - Section 36 of the Valuation of Land Act 1916.

The Valuer General will advise you of the outcome of your objection. If you still don't agree with the valuation, you can appeal to the Land and Environment Court

For more information visit Land Registry Services or phone 1300 396 076.

If my value is changed will Council adjust my rates?

Council will adjust your rates once Land & Property Information has completed its review and provided Council with amended land values.

What are the rating categories?

Council decides what category your property is in based on its characteristics and use. Each parcel of land in NSW falls within one of four categories for rating purposes:

  • Farmland - dominant use, where there is a primary production business activity which has a significant and substantial nature and a purpose of making a profit. Land zoned as rural does not automatically lead to categorisation as Farmland. Hobby farms do not meet the definition for categorisation as Farmland – Section 515 of the Local Government Act.
  • Residential - dominant use must be for residential accommodation or be vacant land zoned for residential purposes – Section 516 of the Local Government Act.
  • Mining - dominant use is for mining coal or metalliferous minerals - Section 517 of the Local Government Act.
  • Business - if it does not fit either of the above three categories then it must be categorised as Business - Section 518 of the Local Government Act.

What if I don’t agree with my rating category?

You can contact us to request a review. If you still don’t agree with the categorisation following the review, you can appeal to the Land and Environment Court within 30 days of receiving our decision.

What is Council spending our rates on next year and in the years after that?

Full details of Council’s proposed expenditure for each year is contained in Council's Operational Plan.

How can I have a say about how much rates I pay and how Council spends the income from rates, annual charges, user fees & charges and grants?

Each year we update our Operational Plan detailing how we plan to deliver services to the community for the next financial year and beyond and then put it out on public exhibition for comment.

Are there penalties for late payment of rates?

Yes. Interest accrues on rates and annual charges that remain unpaid after the due date.

What if I can't afford to pay my rates?

If you are having trouble paying your rates account on time, we can provide hardship assistance and a personalised payment plan to help you get back on track.

Depending on your needs, we can provide you with information about:

Personal payment plans to help you pay off your overdue rates at the same time as addressing your future instalments in one easy plan.

Contact us as soon as possible to discuss your options.

Do I have to pay a domestic waste management charge if I am not using this service?

Yes. The Local Government Act 1993 requires councils to levy an annual charge for domestic waste management services on all parcels of rateable land for which the service is available, whether or not it is actually used. All property owners should contribute to the current and future provision of waste services.

Is anyone exempt from paying rates?

Some parcels of land are exempt from rates and charges, including land within a national park or land that belongs to a school or religious group. Unless you meet the exemption criteria outlined in the Local Government Act 1993, you are not exempt from paying rates.

Can I view my rates online?

Yes, Council offers electronic registration for residents to receive their notices via email. You can register to receive your rates through BPAY View by logging on to your internet banking.

When and how do I pay my rates?

The annual rate notice is issued at the end of July each year. Rates can be paid in full by 31 August, or in quarterly instalments due 31 August, 30 November, 28 February and 31 May.

You may choose to make regular periodic payments (weekly, fortnightly, monthly, etc.). It is important that when calculating your periodic payments you ensure that each of the four instalments will be paid by the due dates in order to avoid interest accruing against overdue amounts. Customers who pay by quarterly instalments will receive instalment reminder notices prior to the due date.

I'm a pensioner. Am I eligible for a concession or rebate on rates?

Council provides eligible pensioners with a rebate on their rate notice account. A proportionate rebate is provided where eligible pensioners are joint property owners with non-eligible people, or if your eligibility changes during the year.

Am I eligible for a pensioner rebate?

To be eligible for a pensioner rebate on residential rates and charges, the property must be your sole or principal residence. You’ll also need a current pensioner concession card issued by Centrelink.

To apply for a pensioner rebate, complete an application form to be eligible for the concession. A separate signed declaration form is required for each applicant applying for a concession with a copy of the pension concession card. 

If your rebate application is approved, it will appear on your future rate notice.

Changes to your circumstances 

If your circumstances change and you start or stop receiving a pension, the guidelines below apply to your rates rebate.

If you start receiving a pension after a billing period begins (and you meet the above conditions), you can claim a rebate from the next billing period.

If you no longer meet the conditions above and are not entitled to receive a rebate, any rebate you received in advance will be charged back to your rates account.

To receive a rebate, you must satisfy the eligibility criteria at the time the account is issued.

Please contact Council as soon as your circumstances change.