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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 3 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 781..

Rates-deferred payment

(Question No 86)

Mr Cornwell asked the Treasurer, upon notice, on 20 February 2002:

In relation to deferred payment of rates:

(1) How much in rates has been deferred for payment by an estate in

(a) 1998-1999

(b) 1999-2000

(c) 2000-2001

(2) What is the total amount of deferred rates owed to ACT Revenue at 31 December 2001.

(3) What is the average time taken for an estate to be settled and outstanding rates to be collected.

(4) What is the procedure for ensuring rates deferred for payment by an estate are collected.

Mr Quinlan: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

(1) The provisions of the Rates and Land Rent (Relief) Act 1970 require an owner to be resident in the property for a deferment of rates to apply. Consequently, a deferment of rates does not apply to a deceased estate and the answer to the Member's question in respect of each of the three years mentioned is nil.

Rates deferred by property owners for the same years were as follows:

1998-1999 $38 594.52

1999-2000 $47 816.66

2000-2001 $46 677.68

(2) The total amount of deferred rates owed to the ACT Revenue Office as at 31 December 2001 was $564 332.84

(3) No statistics are held by the ACT Revenue Office on the amount of time taken for each deceased estate to be settled. Property settlement of a deceased estate varies greatly and finalisation is dependant on numerous legal factors and mandatory requirements eg. the existence of a will, granting of probate, etc.. The average time taken for an estate to be settled and rates to be collected is not known.

(4) Under the provisions of the Rates and Land Tax Act 1926, rates are a charge upon the land and as such, any unpaid rates are a secured debt. If any rates remain unpaid by a previous owner who had deceased and those rates are not paid as part of the estate settlement, the liability for any unpaid rates would pass to the beneficiary of the estate or any new owner. Where any unpaid rates are a significantly high amount, normal recovery action would be undertaken, including legal action through the courts in cases where conventional recovery methods are unsuccessful.

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