Question to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Mr Brendan Howlin, TD)
To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the procedures in place for determining the rateable valuation of new buildings, the timeframe the process takes, pending valuation; if it is possible for the relevant local authority to levy commercial rates on a property that has not been assessed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer.
For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 13th November, 2013.
The Valuation Act, 2001 provides for the valuation of all commercial and industrial property and in this regard the Commissioner of Valuation is independent in the performance of his functions under the Act. The making of valuations for rating is the Commissioner’s sole prerogative and I, as Minister, have no function in decisions in this regard.
The procedures for making an application for a determination of valuation are prescribed in section 27 of the Valuation Act, 2001, wherein it is provided that any one of the following – an occupier of a property, a rating authority, a person as respects a property to which he/she is an interest holder or an occupier of a property that appears on a valuation list – may apply in writing to the Commissioner of Valuation for a revision of an existing valuation or for a new valuation to be determined in respect of a new building. The statutory fee prescribed for the service is €250 which should accompany the application to the Valuation Office.
Under section 28 (4) of the Act, a Revision Officer appointed by the Commissioner may carry out a revision of valuation in relation to a particular property only if a material change of circumstances (MCC) has occurred since the property was last revised. MCC is defined in section 3 of the Act as a change of circumstances, which consist of a new building, a change in value due to structural alterations of an existing building, total or partial demolition of a building or a sub-division or amalgamation of relevant property.
Should the foregoing MCC criteria be satisfied, the appointed Revision Officer will consider the application and determine and issue a valuation for the subject property within a period of six months from the date of his appointment. The notice of the decision by way of a Proposed Valuation Certificate will issue to the applicant, who, if dissatisfied with the decision, will have the right to make representations in respect of the proposed valuation and will have 28 days to do so, from the date of issue of the certificate. The Revision Officer is required to consider the representations prior to finalising the valuation and issuing a Final Valuation Certificate and amending the Valuation List.
If dissatisfied with the outcome of the representations, the occupier will have a further statutory right to make an appeal to the Commissioner of Valuation in the first instance and thereafter to the Valuation Tribunal. The Valuation Tribunal is an independent body set up to settle disputed valuations between the Commissioner of Valuation and individual ratepayers. In relation to the appeal process, I might mention that legislative proposals are currently before the Houses of the Oireachtas which would result in the first appeal to the Commissioner being removed, in which case, the appeal would be to the Valuation Tribunal only. This is one of a number of legislative proposals set out in the Valuation (Amendment) (No.2) Bill which is currently awaiting a Committee stage reading in Seanad Éireann. However, it will be a matter for the Oireachtas to determine how such proposals proceed or otherwise.
Regarding the levying of rates, the position is that under Irish law, there is a distinct separation of function between the determination of valuation of rateable property and the setting and collection of commercial rates. The amount of rates payable by a ratepayer in any calendar year is a product of the valuation of that property determined by the Valuation Office and the annual rate on valuation (ARV) set annually by the elected members of the rating authority. Rates can only be collected by the rating authority on property which has been valued under the Valuation Act, 2001 and there is no mechanism to otherwise collect rates pending the determination and issue of the valuation under the Act.