Religious objection over rates very rare says Local Government Association of Tasmania

Refusing to pay rates on religious ground is very rare according to Local Government Association of Tasmania chief executive Katrena Stephenson.

A family in the Meander Valley municipality are facing the potential loss of three properties to allow the council to recoup unpaid rates totaling $9332. They refused to pay rates because they believe the land was not theirs but “owned by God”.

“The most common reasons is people moving away who are absent landowners, they might have moved interstate and not paid their rates and are not contactable,” Dr Stephenson said.

“People might get into arrears due to financial issues but that can be managed.”

She said other ratepayers had offered philosophical objections on constitutional grounds. 

“I believe one in Devonport went through the court and was found in favour of the council,” she said.

Dr Stephenson said the sale of property had to be a council’s last resort and could only be done if rates had not been paid for more than three years.