The Local Government Act provides that Councils impose an initial fine of 2% on any payment for rates, whether by single or quarterly, that is received late.A payment that continues to be late is then charged a prescribed interest rate on the expiration of each month that it continues to be late.
The Council issues a notice of overdue rates when rates are overdue i.e. unpaid by the due date.Should rates remain unpaid and if suitable arrangements have not been made for regular payments to clear the account more than three months after the issue of the notice of overdue rates then the Council refers the debt to a debt collection agency for collection.The debt collection agency may charge collection fees that are recoverable from the Ratepayer.
When the Council receives a payment in respect of overdue rates the Council applies the money received as follows:
- to satisfy any costs awarded in connection with court proceedings,
- to satisfy any interest costs;
- in payment of any fines imposed;
- in payment of rates, in chronological order (starting with the oldest account first).