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Explanatory Memorandum to Rates (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 2006

Background and Policy Objectives

3.The Northern Ireland Executive commissioned the Review of Rating Policy in 2000 with the aim of making the rating system in Northern Ireland fairer and more understandable. The most significant change provided for in the Order is the change to a domestic rating system based on individual capital values.

4.The Rates (Capital Values, etc.) (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 (S.I. 2006 No. 611 (N.I. 4)) provided for the publication of the capital value of every domestic property in Northern Ireland. These were published during July and August 2006 and enable ratepayers to make enquiries and, if necessary, seek an informal administrative review of their valuation before the new system based on capital values comes into operation in April 2007.

5.The Order also gives effect to a range of other reforms including:

  • transitional rate relief;

  • a new rate relief scheme for those on low incomes;

  • full relief on properties occupied solely by those in full time education and training, young people leaving care and persons under 18;

  • a new independent Valuation Tribunal;

  • partial exemption to houses owned by ministers of religion and other similar clergy;

  • a range of enabling powers to allow the new system to be varied; and

  • further reliefs and exemptions for the non-domestic sector.

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