Who pays rates?
You must pay rates if you are an owner or occupier of 'land' ('land' includes any house, building, structure or land).
If you own ‘land’
If you own ‘land’ and occupy it, you will be liable for both owner and occupier rates.
If you own ‘land’ and let it out to someone else, then you may be liable for owner rates and may also be liable for occupier rates (depending on the terms of the letting agreement – see below).
If you occupy ‘land’ but don’t own it
If you occupy ‘land’ (as a lease holder, not a licence holder) but don’t own it, then you will be liable for the occupier’s rates.
The only exceptions to this are if the terms of the letting include furniture and furnishings - then your landlord is liable for the occupier’s rate. However, it may also be part of the letting agreement that your landlord can recover the cost of rates from you that he / she has paid.
Why do I need to pay parish and islandwide rates?
The proceeds of parish rates go towards your parish’s general expenses – such as repair and maintenance of parish by-roads, for example.
Islandwide rates are collected by your parish, but the proceeds are paid to the States Treasury.
How much are my rates?
How much you need to pay in rates depends on the rateable value of land (which you either own or occupy). This is assessed by the rate assessors elected by your parish. It also depends on whether your land is assessed as being used for a ‘domestic purpose’ (ie it is wholly or mainly used as a private dwelling) or for a ‘non-domestic purpose’ (ie for any other purpose).
Parish rates are set by the Parish Assembly (which is made up of parishioners and ratepayers, not parish officials). The amount of rates that each parish needs to collect depends on the budget for the year (this is agreed by the Parish Assembly). This means that parish rates differ depending which parish your ‘land’ is in.
Islandwide rates are calculated by the Supervisory Committee, which is made up of the 12 parish Connétables. These are the same for all parishes.
When and how do I need to pay them?
Your rates are payable ‘on demand’ – this means you will receive a letter ('notice') telling you when you must pay them. Once you receive notice that your rates are due, you should pay them within 3 months to avoid a 10% surcharge for late payment.
You can pay your rates by cash or cheque – some parishes may accept online or credit / debit card payments. All parishes will accept weekly / monthly payments of rates, but the 10% surcharge will still be charged if your rates haven’t been paid in full by the due date.
If you have problems paying your rates, you should contact your parish hall.
If you receive Income Support, this benefit is designed to cover your rent and your rates, so you should budget accordingly.
Moving or selling your house
If you move from your parish or sell / transfer your property to someone else, you and the new owner / occupier should each contact your parish Connétable to tell him / her your new address.
If you own or occupy ‘land’ on the 1 January, then you’re liable for the rates for that ‘land’ for the whole year, even if you sell your house or move later in the year.
You can find out more about rates and how they are calculated from your parish website.