Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Questions (1228, 1229)

James Browne

Question:

1228. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the reason the revised valuations have been changed by county; if the approach will be reviewed in order to benefit revalued small businesses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4103/20]

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James Browne

Question:

1229. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his views on whether it is unjust to revalue different local authorities at different times; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4110/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1228 and 1229 together.

The Commissioner of Valuation is independent in the performance of his functions. Decisions with regard to the optimum work programme of the Valuation Office, including the selection, sequencing and grouping of rating authority areas for revaluation, are a matter for the independent Commissioner, taking into account the extensive valuation work required in each case and in terms of engaging with ratepayers and other stakeholders.

In this regard, the Valuation Office is currently engaged in a national revaluation programme. The objective of the programme is to ensure that the first revaluation of all rating authority areas in over 160 years is completed, as soon as possible, on a phased basis.

Revaluation is a process whereby all rateable properties in a local authority area, rather than in a particular business sector, are valued periodically by reference to a single valuation date. The statutory provisions in the Valuation Acts provide for the revaluation of all rateable property within a rating authority area so as to reflect changes in value due to economic factors, differential movements in property values or other external factors such as changes in the business environment or infrastructural changes in the vicinity of a property. Each local authority area is a legal entity in its own right for the purposes of carrying out a revaluation. This requires the application of a separate valuation order and the publication of a new valuation list for each local authority area.

The Local Government Act 2001, as amended by the Local Government Reform Act 2014, provides the legislative basis for the local authority budget process. It is a matter for each local authority to determine the total amount of rates to be levied by it in a particular year having regard to both locally identified needs and available resources. The size or aggregate value of rateable properties on a valuation list does not determine the total amount of rates to be collected by a local authority and the sequencing of revaluations does not affect this process.

Having a modern valuation base is very important for the levying of commercial rates on a fair and equitable basis across all economic sectors. The revaluation reflects changes in value due to economic factors such as business turnover, differential movements in property values or other external factors and changes in the local business environment. The revaluation programme is not designed to benefit any particular business categories.

Once the first revaluation of all areas is completed, the exercise must be repeated on a recurring basis, with revaluations required no sooner than five years and no later than ten years after the previous revaluation. Where frequent revaluations occur on a rolling basis, this ensures equity and uniformity of the entire valuation system which underpins commercial rates.

The Programme has already been completed in respect of the rating authority areas of Carlow, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Longford, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, South Dublin and Westmeath County Councils and Dublin City Council, Waterford City and County Council and Limerick City and County Council. In keeping with the recurring nature of the Programme, a second revaluation of the South Dublin County Council rating authority area was also completed in 2017.

The next phase of the programme, known as “Reval 2019”, commenced in late 2017 and concluded last year, with the revaluation of commercial and industrial properties in Cavan, Louth, Meath, Monaghan, Tipperary, Wexford and Wicklow County Councils. Fingal County Council also underwent a second revaluation having initially been the subject of a Revaluation in 2009.

The latest phase, known as “Reval 2021”, commenced in late 2019 and will conclude in 2021 with the revaluation of commercial and industrial properties in Clare, Donegal, Galway, Kerry and Mayo County Councils and Galway City Council.

The second revaluation of all rateable property in the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown rating authority area was due to be finalised this year. However, as it is not possible to complete this exercise under current COVID-19 restrictions, it has recently been agreed with the Commissioner of Valuation that this revaluation will be deferred until next year, in line with the Reval 2021 timeline. An appropriate legislative amendment to underpin this decision will be brought forward at the earliest opportunity.