Farmers urged to get in touch about farm rate eligibility

Posted Thursday 5 September, 04:33pm

Farmers who did not get a chance to fill in their farm land application form – and have received a higher rate bill as a result – are being urged to get in touch with Council’s rates department.

Ararat Rural City Council CEO Dr Tim Harrison said properties receiving the farm rate were sent the forms late last year to ascertain their eligibility under a new rating strategy adopted by Council last year.

Dr Harrison said the completed form was due back in November 2018 and those property owners who did not return it have been charged the general rate for 2019/2020.

“Any ratepayer who believes they are eligible for the farm rate but did not fill in the form is encouraged to contact our rates department,” he said.

“After the form is completed, our rates staff will assess your eligibility for the farm rate and adjust your rate notice if needed.”

In June 2018, Council adopted a new revenue and rating strategy that changed the definition of the farm rate for differential rate purposes to include the requirement that: “the farm land must also be used for the carrying on of primary production by an owner or occupier who is regarded as a Primary Producer by the Australian Taxation Office”.

Dr Harrison said all properties receiving the farm rate were sent the letter and form in late 2018, asking them to reapply for the farm rate.

He said that under the new definition, there would be some ratepayers who have been receiving the farm rate but are now not eligible.

Ratepayers who believes they are eligible for the farm rate but did not fill in the application form can phone the rates department on 5355 0208 or 5355 0209.