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FAKMER8 AND ASSESSMENTS TO LOCAL RATES. The Board of Agriculture has issued the following important circular:— The Board of Agriculture think it may be useful to circulate some information as to the method of procedure to be adopted by occupiers of land who may seek to obtain a reduction of their assessment to the poor rate and other local rates, on the ground that their premises have been valued at too high a figure, or the valuation maintained at a level above the actual value. The Board desire therefore to bring under the notice of agriculturists the following memorandum, prepared by the Local Government Board, which indicates briefly the principles upon which assessments are made and the steps which may be taken where an assessment is objected to, to obtain a reduction of the amount. HERBERT GABDVEB, President of the Board of Agriculture. 4, Whitehall Place, S.W., August, 1893. MEMORANDUM. Outside of London the basis for the assessment of the poor rate, and practically of every other local rate levied endear thm' general law, is, where the Union Assess- ment Acts are in force, the valuation list made under those Acts. There are only 13 places in England and Wales, outside London, where the Union Assessment Acts are not in force. I.— As to the Poor Bate. The poor rate is assessed upon the net annual, or rateable, value of premises, as fixed by the valuation list. The rateable value is arrived at by making certain de- ductions from the gross estimated rental of • he premises, which is the rent at which the property might reasonably be expected to et from year to year, if the tenant paid all usual tenant's rates and taxes, and tithe commutation rentcharge if any. It is not necessarily the same as the rent actually paid for the property. The deductions to be made from the gross [estimated rental in order to arrive at the rateable value, are the probible average tm ua cost of the repairs and insurance, and anv other expenses that may be necessary < man a u the) property in a state to com- maud a, rent equal to the gross estimated renta It a pfiisoi considers that his aseeisment to h 1 peor r t is too high, he must, in the first p I; ce, give notice to the assessment con m t ee aud to the overseers that he object; to the valuation list on which the rate is based. The notice must be in writ- ing, and must specify the grounds of the objection. It may be served on the assess- me nt committee by being left at the office of the clerk to the board of guardians, or sent by post addressed to the committee at such clerk's office, or delivered personally to the clerk of the assessment committee (i.e. clerk to the guardians) or at his usual place of abode. On notice of the objection being given, a day will be appointed by the assessment committee for the hearing of the objection, and on euch hearing the committee have full power to call for and amend the valua- tion list. If they do amend it, they must give notroe of the amendment to the over- seeis, who are thereupon to alter the poor rate cur ent at the date of the notice of objection; so that, if on the hearing of an objection made by a farmer or other person against i is a sessment, the assessment com- mittee reduce the assessment, the obj-ector will on y be called upon to pay on the reduced amount the rate current at the time when be m do his objection. The reduction will taki effect also as regards any rate made subsequently. Supposing that the objector fails to obtain from the committee such relief in the matter as he considers he is entitled to, the only course open to him is to appeal to the next practicable special or quarter sessions against the rate unless he has first objected to the valuation list in the manner above referred to, and has failed to obtain relief from the assessment committee. J If he appeals against the rate he must j give 21 days' notice in writing previous to the holding of the sessions to which the appeal is to be made, of his intention to appeal, and the grounds thereof, to the I assessment committee and the overseers. The justices on the hearing of an appeal against the poor rate are empowered to ¡ amend the rate by altering the sum therein charged on any person, or in any other manner which may be pecessary for giving such relief as they think just; and in certain I cases they may quash the rate. If the rate I is amended, the valuation list must be altered by the assessment committee in con- formity with the amendment. If the decision of the justices in special sessions is against the appellant, he may I carry the appeal to general or quarter sessions. But in the vast majority of instances in which persons who have been over-assessed take action in order to get their assessment reduced, no appeal against the poor rate is necessary: the relief desired is obtained by the simple process of objec- tion to the valuation list before the assess- ment committee. W ifh respect to places in which the Union Assessment Committee Acts are not in force, it may be stated generally that subject to the provisions of any local Act. the prooe- dure for obtaining a reduction of assessment is by appeal against the poor rate to special or quarter sessions. If.-As to Hates other than the Poor Hates. The principal rates other than the poor rate which are levied under the general law, are the borough rate, the county rate, the highway rate, the general district rate, and certain rates levied for the sanitary purposes in rural sanitary districts. When the whole parish is liable to con- tribute to the borough rate or county rate, the sum required is paid out of the poor rate. Where only part of the parish is liable, a separate rat) is levied in such part in the same manner as the poor rate, and the same observation applies to sums required for th expenses of school boards and burials boards. All these rates are based practi- cally on the valuation list and it would seem that if the assessment committee amend the valuation list after hearing an objection to the list, any of these other rates should be correspondingly amended without any formal appeal against it. As regards the highway rate, it is ex- pressly provided that where any valuation list has been amended by the assessment committee on objection, the committee shall give notice of such amendment to the sur- veyor of highways, or other person author- ised to make and levy the highway rate, w ho shall there alter the then current high- way rate accordingly. 4 1 As regards the general district rate levied I by an urban sanitary authority, it has been held by the Queen a Bench Division of the High Court of Justice that where, subse- quently to the making and demand of a general district rate, the valuation list upon which the rate was based was amende by the assessment committee by the reduction of the assessment of particular premises, there was shown, upon a summons for non- payment of the full amount of the rate as assessed upon the premises, sufficient cause for non-payment of eo much of the rate as was assessed on the amount of rateable value in excess of that to which the assess- ment committee had reduced the assessment, although there had been no appeal against the general district rate. The sanitary authority are empowered to reduce the sum at which any person has been assessed in the rate, if he has been over-rated, i.e., if he has been assessed on a higher rateable value tha-i that entered in the valuation list in respect of his property. If, howtvar, a person asse s'd in any of the above ratei considers that he is over- rated, and is unable, in any other way, to obtain such relief as he considers himself entitled to, he may appeal aapinst the rate. In the caie of a highway rate, he may appeal to the justices at the next practicable general or quarter sessions. For the purposes of such an appeal notice in writing must. within 14 days after the making of the rate, be given to the surveyor of highways, waywarden, or urban sanitary authority, as the case may be, of :he inten- tion to appeal, and the notice must he accompanied by a statement of the g oun Is of appeal. On the hearing of the appeal, the justices may amend or, if necessai-y, ma., quash the rate. An appeal against a general district rate lies to ttie next court of quart-r sessions held not less than 21 days after the demand of the rate. Fourteen days' n t p of the appeal must be given to the urban sanitary authority, and the notice must state the ground of appeal. In the case of separate rates levied by overseers to meet expenses of rural sanitary authorities, the same appeal li8 TO special or quarter sessions as in the case 0: the poor rate. Separate borough rates a id spi a --ate rates to meet contributions ivqu ed b v a county council may also be ? pp u 1 d ag dnst in like manner as a poor ratr-, and the s. m remark applies to sepai ate lates 0 meet tne expenses of a school board. Appeals fcgiinst rates levied un.de • thi> Lighting ana Watching Act, 1833, n ay "be made to gentril or quarter sessions, suoje to the same provisions as appeals against poor rates. III.-Special Assessments of Land not occvpied by Buildings. In the case of three of the rates mentioned in Part 11. of this memorandum, the law provides for the assessment of land not covered by buildings, at a less rate than property consisting of buildings, etc. These three rates are the general district rate in an urban sanitary district, a separate rate for special sanitary expenses in a rural sanitary district, and the lighting rate. Occupiers of land used as arable, meadow, or pasture ground only, or as woodlands, allotments, orchards, market gardens, or nursery grounds, are assessable to a general district rate in respect of such land, in the proportion of one-fourth part only of the rateable value according to the valuation list; and in the case of a separate rate for special sanitary expenses, they are, accord- ing to circumstances, either to be assessed in respect of one-fourth part only of the rate in the pound payable in respect of houses and other property. Occupiers of houses, buildings, and pro- perty (other than land) are required to pay, in respect of their assessment to the lighting rate, a sum in the £ three times that paid by occupiers of land. So that, if the rate on other property is 6i in the L, occupiers of land have to pay only 2d in the £ Failure, in rating such occupiers, to allow the partial exemption for which the Acts provide, would be a good ground of appeal against any of the three rates above men tioned.


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