A Budget measure that many may have missed this year is now starting to impact those ratepayers fortunate enough to pay their rates early.
For many years these ratepayers have enjoyed a discount for early payment but this year’s Budget abolished it as part of a phase-out initiated in 2016.
Last year, the discount was reduced from 3 per cent to 1 per cent, and the 2018-19 Budget Papers refer to its scrapping as a revenue initiative under the banner Fairer Revenue.
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It is expected to bring in $6.4 million over the forward estimates, with $1.4 million in 2018-19, $1.5 million in 2019-20, $1.7 million in 2020-21, and $1.8 million in $2021-22.
A spokesperson for Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the Government had been phasing out the discount since the 2016-17 Budget as an equity measure.
About a quarter of ACT households received the discount, and they were almost exclusively wealthy households.
“The ACT Government is committed to supporting Canberra households most in need of assistance. For example, this year we expanded the General Rates Aged Deferral Scheme by removing the income and unimproved land value thresholds so more senior Canberrans can defer their annual rates to help with their cost of living,” the spokesperson said.
“The ACT remains a relatively low taxing jurisdiction and the ACT Government continues to seek opportunities to make our revenue system fairer as we proceed with tax reform in the years ahead.”
The spokesperson said the phasing out of the discount was outlined in the 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 Budget Papers, reported in the media each year and discussed in Budget Estimates.
Rates notices in 2016-17 and 2017-18 indicated the reduction in the discount.