Revaluation of Commercial Properties
If you are a charity and you are paying commercial rates on properties,you have a once-off opportunity to apply for exemption from such payment prior to the 28th January 2014.
The Valuation Office has been conducting a revaluation of all commercial properties in the Dublin City Council rating area to give effect to the Valuation Act 2001 (“the Act”). For 2014, and beyond, commercial property rates will be based on the rentable value of the property as of the 7th April 2011. You should now have received a proposed valuation certificate which, in the absence of representation may become the final figure on the 31st December 2013. Dublin City Council has indicated an annual rate on valuation of 0.264.
Accordingly, a property with a valuation certificate of €10,000 per annum may beliable to rates of €2,640 (this is only a guide).
Exemption from Rates and Appeal
Schedule 4 of the Act stipulates a range of exemptions for charities. Specific exemptions apply to buildings occupied/used:
- exclusively for public religious worship;
- caring for the sick / treatment of illnesses/ maternity;
- School, College, University, Institute of Technology or any other educational\institution for educational services and either funded by the Exchequer or else not conducted for = the purposes of making a private profit and available to the general public (whether with or without a charge being made therefor);
- Art Gallery / Museum / Library / Parkopen to the general public;
- Occupied for the purpose of caring for the elderly, handicapped or disabled person not conducted for the purpose of making a private profit or funded by the Exchequer;
- exclusively as a community hall;
- conservation of the natural and built endowments in the State otherwise than for private profit;
- advancement of science, literature or the fine arts, otherwise than for private profit.
Apart from the foregoing exemptions, there is a general charitable exemption for any land, building or part of a building:
- occupied by a charitable organisation;
- that uses same exclusively for charitable purposes; and
- otherwise than for private profit.
A charitable organisation is defined in the legislation which coincides largely with the standard requirements imposed by Revenue, on an application for a CHY/charity number, in the constitutional documents of the charity. These documents and the accounts of the charity are scrutinised by the Tribunal in determining qualification for exemption.
The fact that you may have a Revenue CHY/charity number does not automatically entitle you to exemption from rates. To do so, you must meet the specific exemption conditions specified in the Act and summarised above. There is a substantial body of case law which took a very restrictive approach to the interpretation of “charitable purposes” under the earlier legislation. However, that legislation has been repealed and replaced by the Act and the High Court, in the case of St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group (26th February 2009),expressed the view that it is necessary to exercise some caution in having recourse to the earlier case law. That case found that a stand-alone car park serving the hospital (operated by an outside management company on behalf of the hospital) was nevertheless regarded as part of the hospital and accordingly qualified for exemption - the same should apply to administration offices of a charity.
Should you wish to be treated as exempt from rates, or to challenge the quantum of the valuation, an appeal must be made within twenty-eight days from the publication of the valuation list on the 31st December 2013. An appeal for exemption, or a reduction, is a once-off opportunity prior to the 28th January 2014. After that, you will need to show a material change of circumstances, which can be difficult to establish, in order to have any future right of appeal.