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Rates are a sort of property tax that is used to pay local government in the United Kingdom and other countries with systems based on the British one. Other nations, such as France, have levies that serve a similar purpose, such as the taxe d’habitation.

Annual taxes, known as council rates or shire rates, are levied by local governments. The method for calculating these fees varies by state, but it is typically dependent on the worth of the property in some way. Individual local government bodies, even within states, can frequently pick the specific basis of rates, such as the rental value of residences (as in Western Australia) or the unimproved land value (as in New South Wales). A governmental authority normally determines these rateable values, which are subject to periodic review.

In Canada, rates are referred to as property taxes. Municipal governments collect these taxes largely on residential, industrial, and commercial properties, and they are their primary source of revenue.

Domestic and non-domestic properties are also subject to the tax. Prior to 2000, it was used to support municipal services through the Urban Services Department and Regional Services Department, which were the responsibility of the now-defunct Urban Council and Regional Council. The money has now been transferred to the Treasury. The bill is published every three months.

As part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Ireland had business and household rates, which were preserved after independence. Commercial or business rates are still collected. In its 1977 general election programme, Fianna Fáil vowed to eliminate home rates, won by a landslide, and put it into effect in 1979. Local governments lost 33% of their budget and had to make cuts. Through make up for the shortage, most municipalities imposed “water charges” from the mid-1980s to 1997. The implementation of a Local Property Tax (LPT) in 2013 has been likened to the reinstatement of domestic rates; one distinction is that the LPT is collected centrally by the Revenue Commissioners before being distributed to local governments.

The arnona tax, which dates back to the British Mandate of Palestine, is a comparable levy in Israel. It is assessed by the municipality (or, in smaller towns, the moatza ezorit, or Regional Council) and is now based on the square meterage of the residence or company. The highest rates in the country are found in Jerusalem and Rehovot, with Jerusalem and Rehovot having the highest rates in the country. Tenants (rather than owners) often pay the arnona in rented homes. Discounts or even exclusions are available for single parents and certain types of financial hardship.

Since the late 1800s, rates have been the primary source of revenue for territory authorities in New Zealand. Rates are essentially a levy on real estate. Rates accounted for 56 percent of local-government operating revenue in the fiscal year ending June 2005.

In New Zealand, almost all property owners pay rates, and those that do are known as ratepayers. Renters do not pay rates directly; nevertheless, property owners will factor in the cost of rates when determining the rent. As a result, persons who rent houses have an interest in the rate structure as well as the services offered by the municipalities that use these rates.

Some types of property, such as government land and rail land, are exempt from rate taxes. Other forms of property may only be given a 50 percent rating (land used for some types of sports purposes). Mori land, particularly if ownership and so obligation for rates is difficult to prove, may be given special consideration. Schedule 1 Part 1 of the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 lists the exceptions.

Using valuations provided in line with the Rating Valuations Act 1998, territorial authorities can assess property values in three ways: on the basis of land, yearly, or capital worth. The Valuer-General is in charge of the valuation process. After consultation with the community, each local government can choose which basis to adopt.

When assessing rates based on the value of holdings, councils can use a combination of these distinct approaches, such as land value for a general rate and capital value for a targeted rate.

Councils can also levy a uniform yearly general charge, which is a flat fee per rating unit (i.e. per lot of land, with few exclusions where several neighboring lots may be deemed one rating unit if in common ownership, or when many dwelling-units are on a single lot). Other methods, such as a charge per toilet bowl or urinal, or a payment per cubic metre of water delivered, are also available.

The Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 is the controlling law, and it allows local governments to utilize a combination of general rates, targeted rates, and/or uniform yearly general charges to determine rates.

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