Rates rebates, postponements & hardship options


DO you Need help with your rates?

We recognise some people face difficulties paying their rates bill. We do our best to help you with your payments. If you are struggling, please read on - you may be eligible for one of our rates schemes or rates remission and postponement policies.

Help through Rates Remission and Postponement Policies

We have 10 Rates Remission and Postponement policies that may be able to help you pay your rates. We’ve summarised these for you below. Please contact our rates staff with any queries about eligibility or making an application
Discount for early payment of rates in current financial year
If your prior year rates and current year rates are paid on, or before, the discount date shown on Council’s rate invoice you are entitled to a discount.

Remission of rates penalties
You may not have to pay penalties on overdue rates if you have an excellent payment history and there are circumstances beyond your control affecting your payment of rates. We may also waive penalties if you have a payment plan agreed with Council to pay your rate arrears.

Rates postponement for financial hardship
If you are experiencing hardship from extreme financial circumstances that affect your ability to pay rates, you may be eligible to postpone your rates payment.

Rates postponement for homeowners aged over 65 years
If you are aged over 65 years and own your home, you may be able to postpone paying your rates until an agreed future date, using your home as security. Council recovers the rates if you sell your home or from your estate.

Rates remission for Maori freehold land
You may be eligible for remission for limited productive use. We may be able to provide some support through rates remission for a new economic development proposal on the land. We could also assist where there are multiple dwellings, or if you have outstanding rate arrears.

Rates remission for contiguous land
You may be eligible for a remission if you own adjoining properties and jointly use them as a single unit.

Rates remission for covenanted land
If your land is covenanted for environmental protection, then you may be eligible for a rates remission for the part of your property that is covenanted.

Rates remission for land used for sport and games
If your club owns the land its facilities are located on, it may be eligible for a 50 percent discount on its rates.

Rates remission for re-zoned land
You may be eligible for a remission if your land has been re-zoned and consequently is subject to higher rates, despite your use of the land being the same.

Rates remission for natural disasters and emergencies
You may be eligible for a remission if a natural disaster or emergency has made your dwelling uninhabitable, or has had significant long term effect on the productive use of your rural, commercial or industrial zoned land.

Help through Rates Schemes

We recognise some people face difficulties paying their rates bill. We do our best to help you with your payments. If you are struggling, please read on - you may be eligible for one of our rates schemes.

There are three options available:

  1. Spreading the cost using automatic payments
  2. Postponing your rates
  3. Apply for a reduction in your rates

1. Automatic payment

You can spread your rates payments over the rating year, making regular payments by automatic payment. The automatic payment must be set up to clear the instalment balance by the due date to avoid a late payment penalty. More information about automatic payments. (PDF, 36KB)

2. Postponing your rates

Are you over 65 years old? You can put your annual rates bill on hold for as long as you choose, by joining Council's 'Rates postponement scheme'.

Under this option, over-65s have the option to postpone the payment of all, or a portion of their rates, for a fixed or indefinite period. This is subject to the full cost of postponement being met by the ratepayer (i.e. interest charges and administrative costs) and Council being satisfied the risk of loss in any case is minimal.


Councils in New Zealand can choose how flexible they are in setting a rates postponement policy. The Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 and the Local Government Act 2002 changed the law to allow councils to postpone payments of rates for residential ratepayers.

Before these laws were in place rates could only be postponed if the ratepayer proved they were suffering hardship.

Western Bay of Plenty District Council offers a scheme available to residential ratepayers aged 65 and over. The aim is to give these ratepayers a choice of paying their rates now or later.

How to apply

To be eligible to apply you or your partner must be at least 65 years old. Full information is available in the rates postponement detailed booklet (PDF 95.6KB), which explains the ‘ins and outs’ of the scheme and how to apply. Alternatively, contact us on 07 571 8008 or by email customerservice@westernbay.govt.nz.

3. Applying for a reduction

Some low income ratepayers are eligible for a reduction in their rates, using our Rates Rebate Scheme. This is an option administered by the Department of Internal Affairs and local councils. A predetermined limit to the amount of rates that can be refunded is set each year by the Department of Internal Affairs.

The Rates Rebate Scheme was established in 1973 to provide a subsidy to low income homeowners on the cost of their rates. The Government has reviewed the Scheme and further increased the rates rebate thresholds for the 2018/2019 rating year, so more people than ever before will be eligible for the rebate.

Are you eligible?

The following amounts came into effect from 1 July 2018:

  • The maximum reduction you can get is $630.
  • The qualifying income threshold is $25,180 (extended from $24,790).
  • The additional income allowance for dependants will remain at $500 per dependant. This means the income threshold for a full rates reduction for the 2018/2019 year is $25,180 and is increased by $500 for each dependant in the household.  For example, if you have 2 children, then you would still be able to get the full rebate of $630 if your income is less than or equal to $26,180.
Exceptions: A reduction might still be available to you even though your income threshold exceeds the qualifying amount. This depends on your rates total and the number of dependants. Example tables and electronic calculator are available on the Department of Internal Affairs website.

How can I apply?

You can apply for a reduction from 1 September 2018, when the rates invoices for the 2018/2019 rating year are issued. Applications close on 30 June 2019.

You will need to complete an application form and send it to our Rates Team, Private Bag 12803, Tauranga Mail Centre, Tauranga, 3143.

Rates rebate application form 2018/19 (printer friendly version) (PDF, 811KB)

*This document is in Adobe Acrobat pdf file format and you will need Adobe PDF Reader to view it. If you don't have this you can download Adobe PDF Reader for free.

You application will include:

  • Your rates assessment invoice (including your regional rates notice if billed separately) for the current rating year.
  • Information about what your income (before tax) was for the tax year ended 31 March 2018.
  • Information about what your partner/joint homeowner's income was if he/she was normally living with you on 1 July 2018.

Schedule of Work and Income benefits for the 2018/19 tax year
Further information about Work and Income benefits and allowances may be found at http://www.workandincome.govt.nz/products/a-z-benefits.

Please note: If you are the owner of an owner-occupier flat and your name is not on the rates bill, you must have a letter from the person whose name is on the rates bill stating what the total rates bill is and how much you pay towards it.

Can people living in retirement villages apply?
From this year, most retirement village residents are able to apply if you do not own your unit, e.g. you hold a licence to occupy agreement.  A separate declaration form is required to be filled in by the retirement village operator and must be included with this form for submission. Contact your village operator or local council for more information.  

Rates rebate declaration certification - resident of a retirement village unit (printer friendly version) (PDF, 5962KB)

If you are granted a rates rebate Council will reduce your rates by the amount of the rebate.

For more information visit the Department of Internal Affairs​​​ website.

Objecting or disputing your rates valuation

You can object to your rating by filling out an Objection to Valuation form (PDF, 56KB) or contact the Customer Services Team on 07 571 8008.

More information?

For more information on any of these options please contact our Rates Team on 07 571 8008 (8am-5pm, Monday - Friday) or email customerservice@westernbay.govt.nz

Page reviewed: 17 Aug 2018 2:00pm