I propose to take Questions Nos. 2907 and 2908 together.
The Commissioner of Valuation is independent in the exercise of his functions and has responsibility for valuation matters, including determination of relevant property, under the Valuation Acts 2001 to 2015, for the purposes of rates. Local authorities have a statutory obligation to levy rates on any property used for commercial purposes in accordance with the details entered on the valuation lists prepared by the Commissioner. As Minister, I have no function in this regard.
The Valuation Act 2001, as amended by the Valuation (Amendment) Act 2015, provides that all buildings used or developed for any purpose, including constructions affixed thereto, are rateable unless expressly exempted under Schedule 4 of the Act.
A review is underway of the underlying policy rationale relating to Schedule 4. The review will assess the likely effects, costs and benefits of any proposed changes in categorisation. The Review Group is made up of key stakeholders from the Valuation Office; the Joint Rateable Valuation Forum; the local government sector; the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and from my Department. It is also proposed that public consultation would take place and formal submissions would be sought from relevant Government Departments and other key stakeholders.
The first meeting of the review group was held on 21 February 2019 to agree the terms of reference. The Group plans to conclude its consideration and make its report in the autumn.
There is a distinct separation of function between the valuation of rateable property and the setting and collection of commercial rates. The amount of rates payable in any calendar year is a product of the valuation set by the Commissioner of Valuation, multiplied by the Annual Rate on Valuation (ARV) decided annually by the elected members of each local authority. Therefore, in the case of exempted properties, details in relation to the potential rates on such properties are not available in my Department.