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General Rates

Contributed by David Ellis and current to August 2018

General rates are applied annually to all parcels of land in the ACT under the Rates Act 2004.

Rates are calculated as a marginal rate of the average unimproved value of the land over three years. There are three rating categories: residential, commercial and rural.

Unimproved values are determined each year by the Commissioner for ACT Revenue based on advice from qualified independent valuers. The unimproved value is what a block of land is worth without improvements such as buildings, landscaping, paths and fences.

Assessments are issued annually between July and September but payments may be made quarterly. Exemptions and concessions are available for certain groups including pensioners, people over 60, and people in financial hardship.

General rates are widely recognised as an efficient form of taxation, and the ACT Government is increasing general rates under the taxation reform program as it cuts other inefficient taxes.

In addition to general rates, the ACT Revenue Office collects a number of levies which appear on the same assessment notice. These include the Fire and Emergency Services Levy (which helps to fund police, ambulance and fire services) and the Safer Families Levy (which helps to fund family violence services).

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