Thursday, 18 November 2021

Questions (178)

Neale Richmond

Question:

178. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will relieve community sports clubs from paying commercial rates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56695/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Commissioner of Valuation is independent in the exercise of his functions under the Valuation Acts 2001-2020. The making of valuations for rating purposes and decisions in relation to exemptions is the sole responsibility of the Commissioner and I, as Minister, have no function in decisions in this regard.

The Valuation Acts 2001 to 2020 provide that all buildings used or developed for any purpose are rateable unless expressly exempted under Schedule 4 of the Acts. However, Paragraphs 4, 4A and 4B of Schedule 4 provide for certain exemptions for property directly occupied for sporting purposes.

Land developed for sport, such as a playing pitch, has a long standing exemption from rateability. Paragraphs 4A and 4B of Schedule 4, added by the Valuation (Amendment) Act 2015 provides for the exemption of property used exclusively for community sport and otherwise than for profit.

As a result of the changes made by the Valuation (Amendment) Act 2015, it is normally property registered under the Registration of Clubs (Ireland) Act 1904 and used for the sale and consumption of alcohol and property used to generate other commercial type income that is rateable. Income from membership fees and income from community organisations and participants in community sport using buildings does not result in a property occupied by a sports club and used for community sport purposes being deemed rateable.

I recognise the positive contribution made by sport’s clubs in their community and on the whole, much property occupied by sports clubs is exempt from commercial rates.

The Valuation Acts are very specific about the range of exemptions that can be applied by the Commissioner. Where a property occupier is unsure as to the position of their property being rateable or exempt, they should contact the Valuation Office by e-mail at valuationservices@valoff.ie.

There are a number of avenues of redress for an occupier of rateable property who is dissatisfied with a determination of valuation made under the provisions of the Valuation Acts. Firstly, before a determination is made, there is a right to make representations to the Valuation Office in relation to a proposed valuation. Later in the process, if the occupier is still dissatisfied with the determination, there is a right of appeal to the Valuation Tribunal which is an independent body set up for the purpose of hearing appeals against determinations of the Valuation Office. There is also a right of appeal to the Higher Courts on a point of law.