Rates Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you have to pay Council rates?

Councils help local communities run smoothly. They administer various laws and regulations to help maintain and improve services and facilities for the community. These services include community services, libraries, parks and gardens, sporting and recreation services, aquatic centre, walking tracks and outdoor gyms, environmental planning and protection, public health, roads, kerb and guttering. The rates you pay allow your council to fund these services and many more.


How does a Council decide how much you have to pay in rates and charges?

Each Council has a revenue policy that sets the rates and charges you have to pay and how they will be calculated.  Rates are based on the land value and category of your property, but may also include a minimum or fixed amount (base rate) per property. The land value is determined by the Department of Lands – Valuer General’s Department.

Example of Valuer General's Valuation:    $250,000

Example of charges:                                   Example of calculations:

0000.333   Ad Valorem (rate in the $)           $250,000 x 0000.333 =  $832.50

$359.00     Base Amount                               Base amount                  $359.00

$417.00    Domestic waste (if applicable)     Domestic waste              $417.00

                                                                              TOTAL RATES    $1,608.50


How does Council decide which category your property is in?

There are four categories for rating purposes – residential, business, farmland and mining. Council’s are permitted sub-categories eg: Goulburn, Marulan and General. The amount collected from these categories is for General rates and is allocated to the Councils general fund account.

If you change the use of your property eg: residential to business, you are required to notify Council within 30 days of this change. If you are not satisfied with the category given to your property, you can contact council for a review.


What if you don't agree with the land value of your property?

Councils don’t determine the land value of your property. Your land is valued by the Department of Lands - Valuer General's Department. These valuations are issued every three to four years; you will receive a valuation notice from the Department of Lands - Valuer General's Department.  If you don’t agree with the land valuation, you have 60 days to object to the Department of Lands - Valuer General's Department.


How can you find out what your rates and charges are going to be?

Councils prepare draft management plans each year that include their proposed revenue policy for the following year. This plan is put on exhibition to give members of the public the opportunity to comment on it.  When the management plan is adopted, it is uploaded to Councils webpage each year.


What is rate pegging?

Each year IPART approves a maximum percentage increase in the total income a council can receive from their general rates, thereby limiting the amount of income a Council can raise via general rates. This is called the rate-peg percentage and it is set by Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) each year. Council has no input into this percentage.  Councils can apply to IPART to increase their general income by more than the rate peg limit. This is called a special variation application.


Does Council get more money when the land valuations increase across the Local Government Area?

No, Council does not receive any extra income when land valuations change.

Council’s total income cannot exceed the annual percentage increase set by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART), known as the rate peg. If total valuations increase in the Local Government Area (LGA), the figures used to calculate the rates will need to decrease to keep Council’s total pool of ‘general rates’ at the rate peg limit.


Can Council choose to ignore the new land valuations?

No, Council is legally required to use the new land values supplied by the Department of Lands, Valuer General NSW for the calculation of rates.


As a pensioner, am I eligible for a concession on my rates?

You may be eligible for a concession if you receive a pension from either Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and have a pensioner concession card issued by the Commonwealth Government.  If you are living in the property and it is your principal place of living as stated on your concession card please contact Council for a pensioner concession application form or download the form from Councils webpage found under "Rates Information and Payment Options".  You may be entitled to receive a rebate of up to $250 on your rates.


When are my rates due?

Council will issue your annual rates and charges notices in July each year.  This notice will outline your rates and charges for that financial year.  Section 562 of the Local Government Act 1993, states that Rates and charges may be paid in full, payment in full is payable by the 31 August of that year, or alternatively by instalments. The instalment dates are the same each year:-

  • 1st instalment  -  31 August
  • 2nd instalment -  30 November
  • 3rd instalment - 28 February
  • 4th instalment - 31 May

If you choose to pay by instalments Council will issue an instalment notice (when there is amounts owing) prior to each due date for each remaining instalment.


What if I don't pay my rates by the due date?

Interest accrues on all unpaid rates and charges after they become due. The rate of interest, which is calculated on a daily basis is set by the Office of Local Government and is displayed on your rates and instalment notices.


How can I pay my rates?

You can choose to pay your rates in person at the Civic Centre located at 184 Bourke Street, Goulburn.  Alternatively, you can pay via BPAY, Australia Post or Centrepay, the details required to make these payments are displayed on your rates notices.  Council also offers fortnightly, quarterly and annual direct debit options.  The direct debit form can be found on Council’s webpage or collected from Councils Civic Centre. 

Council also understand that making weekly, fortnightly, or monthly payments can be easier for ratepayers. We encourage and accept additional payments to ensure rates are paid by the due date.


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

If you are having difficulty paying your rates, it is important that you contact the Council as soon as possible and discuss your situation with the rates staff. Council staff understand that there will be times that you may not be able to pay your rates by the due dates. The rates staff are equipped to work with you to set up a suitable payment arrangement to ensure your rates are paid within the required times.


How can I change my postal address?

All change of addresses are required to be made in writing to Council; email is an acceptable option, council@goulburn.nsw.gov.au.  Council staff require that all legal owners make or acknowledge the change of address.


Can I receive my rates notices via email?

Yes, you can register to receive your future rates notices via email.  When registering to receive your notices via email you will no longer receive a hard copy it will be by email only. If you would like to register to receive your notices via email, please select "Make a Payment" and then select "Register for email notices" on Councils webpage.  When you select this option, you will be directed to Print Mail Logistics Limited (PML), Council's third party data processor who will collect and store your personal information for the purpose of issuing your property rates and/or water notices.  It is important to note that once you have registered to receive your notices via email you will also be required to update and maintain your information related to receiving notices.  Council staff will not update email addresses, cancel, or delete email addresses.  


Can I change my name with Council as it appears on the rates notice?

No, Council is unable to change ownership details directly requested from a ratepayer.  The ownership details are provided to Council by the Department of Lands – Land Titles as they appear on the Title Deeds.  The information will need to be updated with the Department of Lands – Land title Section who will notify Council of these changes.  Your solicitor or conveyancer may be able to assist you with this matter further.