Local authorities are under a statutory obligation to levy rates on any property used for commercial purposes in accordance with the details entered in the valuation lists prepared by the Commissioner of Valuation under the Valuation Acts 2001 to 2015. The Commissioner of Valuation has responsibility for valuation matters, including determination of relevant property under the Acts for the purposes of rates. The levying and collection of rates are matters for each individual local authority.
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. Such exempt buildings would principally include those used for public worship, education and health care provided on a not-for-profit basis, and charitable purposes. Included in the exemptions under Schedule 4 are properties occupied by parties that provide early childhood care and education on a not-for-profit basis, and properties that only provide the Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme. In general, the Acts maintain the long-standing position that all properties of occupiers that operate with the intention of making a profit are rateable, including all private childcare facilities. There are no proposals under consideration for a discount of commercial rates for childcare service providers in this regard.
The Acts are quite specific about the range of exemptions that can be allowed by the Commissioner of Valuation, who has no discretionary latitude to grant exemptions not covered by Schedule 4.
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 Acts. Firstly, before a determination is made, there is a right to make representations to the Valuation Office in relation to a proposed valuation. 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. Also, there is a right of appeal to the Courts on a point of law.