Auckland Council Rates.. does the law apply to Council as it does to you ? part 2

Yesterday we discussed the ability  for council to   charge penalties on  installments  today we take it a step further – what legal right do they have to charge  penalties on GST which they are collecting for the  government ?   We believe that they don’t have any right to do this at all  below is  how we come to  that.

Taking a rates notice which we have here for example
The rates for the financial year 2014-15 are $4510.81 this has a content of $588.36 GST
The current instalment is $1127 and has a  GST content of  $147

The rates notice states

Pay on time to avoid penalties

“‘ It pays to pay your rates on time, as you will be charged a 10 per cent penalty on any part of your current instalment that is overdue.

You will also be charged a 10 per cent penalty on any part of your rates (and penalties from previous years) that have not been paid by 5 July, and again by 5 January, of the current financial year. Any payments that you make towards your rates will be credited towards the oldest amount due first”

The operative words are  any part of your rates.  The Gst is the GST  portion of your rates. The rates  is what is set and  what the GST is payable on .

The the act states penalties Must not exceed 10%   therefore they can only charge  a penalty of 10% on the rates  being 1127-147, the penalty on the rates to be lawful can only be 10% of $980  being $98 .

By charging penalty of $112.70 they are  charging a penalty rate of greater than 10% (11.5% in this case )  which is   and $14.70 over charge  per instalment  and  not  made lawfully .

This is of course  also subject to   the ability  for council to  charge penalties on   instalments as discussed previously

If council can only charge penalties once the years rates are due  being 30 June 2015  then   by imposing  penalties on rates which are inclusive of  GST  ,they will be collecting a further  $58.80  per year ( presuming that you then pay  just prior to  the 30th June )*

Strangely enough  this  sum is more than  the sum which they  give you for early payment .

Where this really gets tricky  is in compounding penalties on the  Gst  of previous payments/ years .

Then there is also the question is GST Payable on the  penalty  or  is GST Payable only on the rates portion ?

We will put that  to council to work out, they have an obligation to us after all to be open transparent and accountable  and presumably that is why we pay crazy high wages to those at the top so that this  kind of thing does not happen ???

 

*based on  instalments being  29 August 2014,26 November 2014, 26 February 2015,27 May 2015 note that   even by instalments  all rates due are paid a month  early .

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