FAQs about rates

​Rating system

We use a capital value rating system for the General Rate from the 2012-13 rating year. Our capital value rating system includes two differentials and has a transition plan to phase in the change (from the land value rating system) over three years which started in June 2012. In 2012-13, the average total rates increase, per ratepayer, is 7.35%.

How our rates work

Rates are a blend of “tax” and service charges. Councils levy rates to fund services and facilities that the community has asked for and to fund services the Government requires councils to provide. For more information visit our Property and Rates page.

Service charges are costs that can be measured and charged directly to those who benefit from them. These include services such as water and sewage. Most other rates, either targeted or general, are essentially a “tax” and therefore need to be set in an equitable way. There is also a user pays component for some services.

How are rates calculated?

Rates are made up of:
• A Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC)
• A general rate (based on a property’s capital value)
• Targeted rates (if applicable)

What is a Uniform Annual General Charge?

A Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC) is a fixed charge applied to each separately used or inhabited part of a property, such as a property with multiple homes or a shop that has a flat above it. The UAGC is used to pay for general council services such as leadership, governance, advocacy, emergency management, animal control and cemeteries. A UAGC is applied to ensure every ratepayer pays a minimum contribution for council services.

General rates: Everyone pays. This is the only part of your rates bill that is affected by land value or capital value rating system. General rates fund activities and services including; community engagement, community grants, building compliance and development, District Plan compliance, health and liquor, parking, rural fire, transport, lakes and rivers systems, parks, reserves and sports grounds, swimming pools (AC Baths, Genesis Aquatic Centre, Mangakino pool), Taupo Events Centre, Great Lake Centre, Taupo District Libraries, Taupo Museum and Art Gallery, community halls, public toilets, housing for the elderly, litter control, storm water, planning for the future, Turangi Tongariro Community Board, council property, destination marketing and economic development.

Targeted rates:
Funds a specific council activity or group of activities, rather than general council services.
Targeted rates are assessed on every rating unit connected or available to be connected to a Council scheme. Vacant sections will incur half charges where a service is available to be connected i.e. water is available to be connected to the property.

Targeted rates include sewage disposal, sewer loan servicing, water supply, metered water supply, district refuse disposal charge, Whakamaru fire protection rate, Whareroa refuse rate, Town Centre Taupo management rate, Turangi Tongariro Community Board rate.

​Water Supply rate

Only charged to those who are able to use the service

Sewage Disposal rate

​Only charged to those who are able to use the service

​Refuse Disposal rate

​Everyone pays, but the amount varies

​Lake Taupo Protection rate

​Everyone pays, but the amount varies depending on where you live

​Uniform Annual General charge

​Everyone pays the same

One rating area

Under the previous rating system, Taupo District had two different rating areas; Taupo-Kaingaroa/Mangakino-Pouakani (TKMP) and Turangi-Tongariro (TT).

We moved to a One Rating Area in 201/12 and are applying one General Rate across the entire Taupo District.

Although there is currently little difference in the charges levied on each area, there will be savings made by reducing the duplication and administration costs previously involved in having two rating areas.

Rating differentials

Councils can choose to apply a rating differential to groups of ratepayers. Rate differentials apply to the general rate and are used to change the proportion of rates that we collect from each group of ratepayers.

We may choose to apply a higher rating differential for groups that place greater demands on council services. Conversely, we may apply a lower rating differential to groups who have less access to council services than other ratepayers.

The differential groups and the factors that are applied are:

​Property Categories​Differentials
​Utility Assets and Networks​1
​Electricity Generators​1
​Industrial Commercial​1.8

What is a SUIP?

SUIP stands for separately used or inhabited part of a property. Most people live in a single dwelling or SUIP, such as a house. There are many properties in our district which have multiple units or dwellings on the same land title.

Examples of properties with more than one SUIP would be a self contained flat or a block of flats, commercial units or even large retirement villages.

Previously, these owners paid one UAGC regardless of the number of houses, flats or businesses on their land. They shared the costs between the multiple dwellings.

Today everyone in Taupo District is rated on each dwelling, or each separately used or inhabited part of their property so that everyone more fairly shares the cost of services that we all use or benefit from.
SUIPs is a well established method of levying the UAGC in New Zealand and we have followed suit by adopting it.

In a residential situation a separately used or inhabited part will only be classified if all of the following apply:

  • Separate kitchen including a bench top and sink
  • Separate living facilities
  • Separate toilet and bathroom facilities
  • Separate access (including access through a common area such as a lobby, stairwell, hallway or foyer etc.)

In a business situation a separately used or inhabited part will be classified where the property has been set up to accommodate, or is accommodating, separate lessees, tenants, or the like, operating separate businesses from the same rating unit.

For further information refer to the Annual Plan – Funding Impact Statement.

Rates rebate - do I qualify?

The Rates Rebate Scheme was established in 1973 to provide a subsidy to low-income homeowners on the cost of their rates (see The Rates Rebate Act 1973 for more information). For 2006 the Government revised the scheme and increased the rates rebate thresholds significantly, making more people than ever eligible for the rebate. These changes came into effect on 1 July of that year. For more details visit our Rates Rebates Scheme webpage.

General definitions


All accommodation establishments for the travelling public, including motels, hotels, timeshares, camping grounds and backpacker lodges

​Electricity Generators

​All rating units used to generate electricity for commercial purposes

​General Rate

The sum of the valuation-based general rate plus the Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC)


​All rating units used for commercial, industrial or retail purposes. Administrative and operational rating units of central and local government, including State Owned Enterprises are also categorised Industrial/ Commercial


​All rating units where there are more than two portions capable of separate occupation, including institutions for the elderly


​All other rating units not defined within the other differential categories


​All residential rating units (excluding multi residential)


​All rating units that are not classified as rural lifestyle that are used predominantly for farming or horticulture

​Rural Lifestyle

​Land, generally in a rural area, where the predominant use is for a residence and, if vacant, there is a right to build a dwelling. The land can be of variable size but must be larger than an ordinary residential allotment.

The principal use of the land is non-economic in the traditional farming sense, and the value exceeds the value of comparable farmland. (As defined in the Rating Valuation Rules, 2008, version October 2010)

​Utility assets and Networks​All utility service units

​What happens if I sell or buy a property?

Rates are a charge on a property, not a property owner. That means that any outstanding rates on a property at the time of purchase become the responsibility of the new owner.

When a property is sold, the vendor's solicitor will usually identify any outstanding rates and negotiate the sale accordingly. But potential buyers should always ask if there are any rates due.

If you’ve sold your property and receive an assessment in your name after you've sold, it may mean the Council has not received notification. Please advise your solicitor to issue the appropriate notification as soon as possible to the Council.

If you have been paying your rates by direct debit the transfer will be cancelled automatically once the Council receives notification of the sale. 

Māori Land in the Taupo District

Māori Land makes up over 35% of land within the Taupō District. For further information refer to the Kaupapa Māori page.

To learn more about Māori land you have interest in try searching Māori Land Online.

For all Māori Land rating queries, please contact Cher Mohi, Māori Land Rating Officer, on 07 376 0899.

Page reviewed: 20 Jan 2017 12:07pm