Section 9(10) of the Valuation Act 2001 (as amended) provides that the Commissioner of Valuation is independent in the performance of his functions, and decisions with regard to the selection of rating authority areas for revaluation is his sole prerogative and the statute does not accord me, as Minister, any role in this regard. The Commissioner has responsibility under the Valuation Acts 2001 to 2015 to maintain a valuation list for each local authority, of all commercial properties in that local authority area, which is used to calculate the rates due from individual ratepayers.
The Valuation Office is currently engaged in a national revaluation programme, the immediate objective of which is to ensure that the revaluation of all rating authority areas is conducted across the country, as soon as possible, and on a phased basis. This is a welcome and positive development which is long overdue and on which considerable progress has been made in recent years.
The purpose of revaluation is to bring more equity, fairness and transparency into the local authority rating system and to distribute the commercial rates liability across businesses more equitably, based on modern circumstances. Following revaluation there is a much closer and uniform relationship between contemporary rental values of property and the commercial rates liability of properties. In essence, the exercise aims to ensure that each ratepayer bears a fair share of the business rates burden relative to the modern rental value of the property that they occupy.
The national revaluation programme currently underway is a very significant undertaking and involves the valuation of some 150,000 commercial rateable properties. Completing the first revaluation since the middle of the 19th century and getting properties in every Local Authority area onto the 5-10 year cycle of revaluations provided for in the legislation represents a sea-change for the rateable valuation system. I am informed by the Commissioner of Valuation that the first revaluation of rateable commercial and industrial properties has already been completed in the Carlow, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Longford, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, South Dublin and Westmeath County Council, and Dublin City Council, Waterford City and County Council and Limerick City and County Council, rating authority areas.
I am pleased to confirm that significant progress has been made and the programme has established a momentum which is now being built upon as the current phase of work known as “Reval 2019” is well underway and scheduled to conclude by September 2019. This phase of the overall national programme covers the following counties - Cavan, Louth, Meath, Monaghan, Tipperary, Wexford and Wicklow rating authority areas. The Fingal County Council rating authority area is also undergoing a second revaluation in 2019, having initially been the subject of a revaluation in 2009. The new valuations for the eight areas undergoing revaluation will be published on 17 September 2019, and become effective for rates purposes from 2020 onwards.
As previously mentioned, the legislation accords solely to the Commissioner the function of selecting counties for the various phases of revaluation to be conducted nationwide and, in this regard, I understand that the Commissioner intends to sign a Valuation Order before the end of 2019 to commence the revaluation of all rateable properties in Counties Donegal.