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Covid-19

Emergency Management

26 Mar 2020

Fingal County Council and COVID-19: Help us to help you.

Our offices are open by appointment only.

You can contact Customer Care at 01-8905000 or at [email protected].

Further information in relation to our services is available on www.fingal.ie.

Please use the post-box outside our offices for correspondence/forms if required.

Further information here.

Stay Safe

Finance

Commercial Rates

COVID 19 - Waiver of Commercial Rates

A 100% waiver of commercial rates applies for a 6-month period from 27 March 2020 to 27 September 2020 to all ratepayers except a small number of categories. The waiver will be applied as a credit in lieu of rates for the 6-month period covered in 2020. These excluded categories are mainly utilities, banks, large supermarkets and corporates (as below). Nationally the full waiver applies to over 100,000 ratepayers.

An application to Fingal County Council is not required. The Council will automatically apply a 100% credit in lieu of commercial rates, for a six-month period, to classes and categories of occupied rateable property where the occupying business is not in an excluded category identified below.  It is hoped to have this process completed by the end of August 2020.

In the event that you qualify for a six-month credit in lieu of rates and have already paid your rates bill for 2020, a refund or credit will be arranged by Fingal County Council. You should contact the rates department by email at [email protected] to make arrangements.

The potential for the waiver to extend beyond end September will be kept under review and any future extensions can be considered when there is greater certainty regarding the continuing impact of the pandemic on businesses and the reopening of society.

In recognition that there is a small number of ratepayers for whom their businesses have not been affected by the pandemic, these ratepayers will not be eligible for the automatic waiver. However, a fund is being provided for ratepayers in these categories who can demonstrate that the pandemic has had a significant negative impact on their business. These ratepayers should engage with Fingal County Council in relation to their commercial rates.

This credit does not apply to the following Excluded Categories:

  • Public Service
  • Global Utility Networks on the Central Valuation List
  • Vacant Properties
  • Individual Office Premises with an annual rates bill of €100k or greater in 2020*
  • Individual Industrial Premises with an annual rates bill of €100k or greater in 2020*
  • Supermarkets greater than 500M2 (Categories Supermarket 2 and Supermarket 3)
  • Data Centres
  • Incinerator, Generating Stations
  • Landfill Sites
  • Network (Cable)
  • Network (Storm Water)
  • Network (Water)
  • Windfarms
  • Generating Stations
  • Banks
  • Building Societies
  • Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
  • Computer/Technology/Electronic manufacturing
  • Premises contracted to provide services related to the COVID 19 pandemic to/on behalf of the State, where the State is already compensating for rates as part of the contract between the occupier or service provider and the State.

*Individual premises refers to all property valued under a single property number.

Business in the excluded categories above may seek eligibility from Fingal County Council if it can be shown the business was severely impacted by the pandemic. The Council may request documentary evidence to support eligibility. In this circumstance, please apply to [email protected] by the 30 September 2020.

COVID 19 - Waiver of Commercial Rates

Frequently Asked Questions - Six-Month Waiver of Commercial Rates

 

1. What is the credit in lieu of rates?

A 100% waiver, in the form of a credit in lieu of commercial rates will be applied to the rate accounts of all businesses, for a six-month period (27 March to 27 September), with a small number of categories excepted. This is in recognition of the fact that not only have many ratepayers been forced to close business due to the public health requirements, but many others who remained open have suffered significant reductions in turnover. The rationale for the exclusion of certain categories of ratepayers is that their operations were not as severely impacted by the pandemic, coupled with the need to direct resources appropriately.

 

2. Which ratepayers are entitled to the waiver?

The six-month credit in lieu of rates will apply to all ratepayers for the period 27 March to 27 September 2020, with a number of specified exclusions.

 

3. What are the exclusions to eligibility?

This credit does not apply to the following Excluded Categories:

  • Public Service
  • Global Utility Networks on the Central Valuation List
  • Vacant Properties
  • Individual Office Premises with an annual rates bill of €100k or greater in 2020*
  • Individual Industrial Premises with an annual rates bill of €100k or greater in 2020*
  • Supermarkets greater than 500M2 (Categories Supermarket 2 and Supermarket 3)
  • Data Centres
  • Incinerator, Generating Stations
  • Landfill Sites
  • Network (Cable)
  • Network (Storm Water)
  • Network (Water)
  • Windfarms
  • Generating Stations
  • Banks
  • Building Societies
  • Pharmaceutical manufacturing
  • Computer/Technology/Electronic manufacturing

§ Premises contracted to provide services related to the COVID 19 pandemic to/on behalf of the State, where the State is already compensating for rates as part of the contract between the occupier or service provider and the State.

 

*Individual premises refers to all property valued under a single property number.

For the purposes of identifying properties in the excluded categories, the category of the main activity undertaken at the premises shall be deemed to be the category of the entire premises.

 

4. Are there any exceptions to the above criteria?

Where businesses in the excepted categories can demonstrate that they were severely impacted by the pandemic, these ratepayers will be able to engage with local authorities to demonstrate severe impact, on a case by case basis.

 

5. What amount of credit is to be applied to eligible rate accounts?

Local authorities should apply a 100% credit in lieu of commercial rates, for a six-month period, to eligible classes and categories of occupied rateable property.

6. Is an application from a ratepayer required for the waiver?

No, there is no application required for the waiver. Local authorities will automatically apply a 100% credit in lieu of commercial rates, for a six-month period, to classes and categories of occupied rateable property where the occupying business is not in an excluded category identified in Q. 3 above.

 

7. Is a ratepayer who was forced to close their premises but who continued to operate their business from elsewhere eligible for the credit in lieu of rates?

The six-month credit in lieu of rates will apply to all ratepayers for the period 27 March to 27 September 2020, with a number of exclusions listed in Q. 3 above. Permitted exceptions to exclusions from the six-month credit in lieu of rates are outlined in Q. 4 above.

 

8. Is a ratepayer who was forced to close their premises to the public but who continued to offer a delivery or take-away or collection service eligible for the credit in lieu of rates?

The six-month credit in lieu of rates will apply to all ratepayers for the period 27 March to 27 September 2020, with a number of exclusions listed in Q. 3 above. Permitted exceptions to exclusions from the six-month credit in lieu of rates are outlined in Q. 4 above.

 

9. How can businesses in the excluded categories, that experienced severe impact, apply for the credit in lieu of rates?

Businesses in the excluded category that have and can demonstrate they experience severe impact in the qualifying period can contact Fingal County Council by email at [email protected] before 30th September 2020. Businesses in the excepted categories will be required to provide evidence of the severe impact experienced to the relevant local authority. With regard to engagement by businesses in the excepted categories that were severely impacted by the pandemic, examples of supporting proofs to demonstrate impact are listed below.

 

10. What supporting proofs are acceptable if a ratepayer from an excluded category claims eligibility?

In the event that eligibility by ratepayers in excluded categories is claimed, the local authority will be seeking confirmation of eligibility via documentary evidence. Where Fingal County Council is not satisfied that evidence provided by the ratepayer supports eligibility, the credit in lieu of rates may be withheld.

 

Proofs which may be requested in this context are listed below and are intended to be illustrative rather than exhaustive and the Council will be open to considering other relevant evidence that reasonably demonstrates eligibility for the six-month credit in lieu of rates by those ratepayers in excluded categories.

 

  • Evidence that the business undertaken at the rateable property was not considered an essential retail outlet or service under S.I. 121 of 2020, and thus was forced to close.
  •  Evidence of participation in the TWSS operated by Revenue.
  • Evidence of employment ceasing and employees availing of the PUP.
  • Copies of documentation submitted to a financial institution as part of the negotiation of relief measures with the financial institution.
  • Copies of correspondence with Revenue to agree forbearance measures with regard to tax liabilities.
  • Evidence of reliance on the Government Credit Guarantee Scheme or overdraft facilities or other borrowings for capital purposes.

In any assessment of ratepayer eligibility for the six-month credit in lieu of rates, Fingal County Council will focus on the types of business records, having regard to the nature and scale of the business that would normally be readily available for such a business.

 

11. What does severely impacted mean and what level of impact should applicant businesses in the excluded categories demonstrate?

The critical requirement of a ratepayer in an excluded category is to be able to demonstrate closure of their business or significant negative economic disruption due to public health restrictions imposed in response to COVID-19. Ratepayers in excluded categories that claim to be severely impacted must be able to demonstrate closure or a decline of at least 25% in turnover for the 6-month period 27 March 2020 to 27 September 2020.

 

However, demonstration of a decline of at least 25% in turnover for that period does not automatically confer a right to have the credit in lieu of rates applied, or if a credit in lieu of rates is applied it does not automatically confer a right to have 100% credit in lieu of rates applied. Fingal County Council will decide, based on the allocation notified to it, referred to in Q.12, to which businesses the credit in lieu of rates should be applied and which proportion of the six-month credit in lieu of rates should be applied to those businesses.

 

12. How should the local authority apply the credit in lieu of commercial rates to businesses in the excluded categories?

Where businesses in the excluded categories have submitted evidence of severe impact they will be included on a list of such businesses that Fingal County Council will be submitting to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government who will then finalise an allocation to local authorities, for the application of credit in lieu of rates to businesses in the excepted categories that can demonstrate severe impact, following receipt of submissions.

 

Based on its notified allocation for businesses in the excluded categories, Fingal County Council will then decide to which businesses the credit in lieu of rates should be applied and which proportion of the six-month credit in lieu of rates should be applied to those businesses.

 

Fingal County Council has responsibility, within its area, for ensuring it does not allocate credit in lieu of rates to businesses in the excepted categories, beyond the value of the allocation notified to it for this purpose.

 

13. Is a ratepayer that has not paid 2020 rates eligible?

Yes.

 

14. Is a ratepayer that is in arrears eligible?

Yes.

 

15. Can conditions be imposed on the ratepayer when applying the six-month credit in lieu of rates, such as agreement to a payment plan?

No conditions can be imposed on a ratepayer in order to receive the six-month credit in lieu of rates, if the rate payer is eligible for the credit.

 

16. If a ratepayer has already paid 2020 rates, can they get refund or a credit towards next year’s bill?

If you have already paid your rates bill for 2020, a refund or a credit towards the 2021 bill will be arranged by Fingal County Council and you should contact the rates department by email at [email protected] to make arrangements.

 

17. Are vacant properties eligible for the six-month credit in lieu of rates?

No, vacant property is part of the excluded categories.

 

18. Are post offices eligible for the credit in lieu of rates?

The credit in lieu of rates will be applied to contract operated post offices which make up a large majority of the post office network.

 

19. Does the credit in lieu of rates apply to BID levies?

BID contribution levies are not entitled to receive a credit in lieu of commercial rates. While the levying and collection of BID contribution levies is facilitated by local authorities through rates collection powers, BID contribution levies are not rates. The relevant business community, rather than central or local government, is the sponsoring party for BID schemes.

 

20. When is the closing date?

There is no application process for the majority of ratepayers. The closing date for applications for those ratepayers in the excluded categories, that claim to be severely impacted is 30TH September 2020.

 

21. Is the local authority required to write to ratepayers to inform them of the waiver?

No, the waiver is applied automatically and no direct individual notice to ratepayers is required. A notice of the main points of the waiver has been made available in the local media and on the Council’s website. Fingal County Council will also be contacting customers directly to provide them with an updated statement for their 2020 rate account and engaging with them on proposals for payment of any outstanding balances on their rate account.

 

22. Can a ratepayer in the excluded category who is unhappy with the decision to refuse an application for the credit appeal?

Yes, a ratepayer can appeal an initial decision of refusal. Such appeals can be submitted to Head of Finance, within 10 days of the decision and the council will facilitate a review of a decision by a senior official.

 

 

Commercial Rates

Rates are a property based tax levied by Local Authorities on the occupiers of commercial or industrial properties.  Income from commercial rates pays for a wide range of services including street lighting, maintenance of roads and footpaths, libraries, parks and playgrounds, sports and recreation facilities, economic development, community development and environmental protection.

On the 26th of November 2019, Fingal Councillors determined the Annual Rate on Valuation (ARV) at 0.1796 for the County of Fingal for 2020.

The person(s) who must pay rates is the occupier of a premises on the date on which the rate is made or if the property is unoccupied on the day the rate is made, the owner is liable. The rate for 2020 will be made on the 23rd January 2020. Owners are reminded that any rates due and outstanding by them will remain a charge on the property.

Rates are calculated by multiplying the valuation of your property by the annual rate on valuation [ARV]. The Commissioner of Valuation is responsible for valuations and the Local Authority for the ARV. Both of these terms are clarified as follows: Valuation: Determined by Commissioner of Valuation – the basis of valuation is known as NAV (Net Annual Value) i.e. the open market rental value of the property at 15th September 2017 Fingal). For further details on valuations and the valuation process, please visit www.valoff.ie (http://www.valoff.ie/)

The Annual Rate on Valuation is a multiplier and is determined by the Local Authority at its Annual Budget Meeting. The ARV for 2020 is 0.1796. Both the Valuation and ARV are shown on your rates bill and a sample calculation would be calculated as follows:

VALUATION x ANNUAL RATE ON VALUATION  =  RATES ASSESSED

€100,000 X 0.1796 = €17,960

Your rates assessment is payable in two instalments. The 1st instalment when the rate is made and on receipt of your rates bill and the 2nd instalment by 1st of July. You have an option of paying monthly by direct debit over the entire year. Please see the back of your rates bill for methods of payment and contact details.

  • Cash/Cheque/Postal Order payable to Fingal County Council at Cash Office, Main Street, Swords, Co Dublin.
  • Standing Order: Contact Rates Office to set up payment.
  • Direct Debit: Contact Rates Office to set up payment.
  • E.F.T. Our Bank Details are BIC: AIBKIE2D IBAN: IE98AIBK 932523 06985297

You must quote your rate account number on all correspondence.

Section 32 of the Local Government Reform Act places:

An obligation on property owners, or their agents, to notify the Local Authority where an interest in a rateable property is transferred and the person liable for rates changes.

The person transferring the property, either the owner or occupier, must discharge all rates for which he/she is liable at the date of transfer.

This obligation came into effect on the 1st July 2014.

You can find more information on the Local Government Reform Act 2014 at www.oireachtas.ie

From the 1st of July 2014, the owner of a rateable property must notify Fingal County Council when there is a change in the occupation of their property, i.e. where a property is being sold or there is a change in tenancy, including where a property becomes vacant.  You must do this within 14 days of the change taking place.  If you don’t notify us within 14 days you will be liable for a penalty.

The penalty is an amount equivalent to up to two years of outstanding rates from the previous occupier.  Any penalty due and outstanding by you, the owner of relevant property due to non-notification will remain a charge on the property. 

Please read our Section 32 FAQ's for further information.

Section 32 Declaration can be accessed by clicking here;

Change of Tenancy Owner Notification Form

ALT 32 - AN tACHT UM LEASU AN RIALTAIS AITIUIL 2014

Rates must be paid on vacant properties by the owner or the person entitled to occupy the premises.  (e.g. someone holding a lease)  A refund of rates paid can be claimed in limited circumstances.  The relevant legislation that deals with refunds of rates on vacant property is Section 14(1) of the Local Government Act, 1946 (for County Councils).  This legislation provides that the leaseholder, or if there is no lease – the owner, can claim a refund of commercial rates where a property is vacant at the ‘making of the rate’.  The refund allowed is one twelfth of the annual rate in respect of every complete month during which the property is unoccupied either for the purpose of carrying out additions, alterations or repairs or because the owner is unable to obtain a tenant at a reasonable rent.

Section 31 of the Local Government Reform Act 2014 conferred a new power on Elected Members of the Council to determine the proportion of refund of rates on vacant commercial premises that will apply in a given year. 

This issue is to be considered by the Members each year as part of the budget process.  The 2020 budget was adopted on 26/11/19 at which time the Members resolved that the rate of refund be a maximum of 40% per month.

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