Bills are sent out at the beginning of the financial year and are payable by whoever occupies the property, whether it’s the owner or a tenant. If you occupy a property for just part of a year, then only a proportion of the tax is payable. The annual bill for an average family house is between $1,000 and $2,000. It isn’t uncommon for residents, either individually or collectively, to appeal against their property valuation in order to obtain a tax reduction.
Property taxes pay for local services such as street cleaning, lighting and subsidies paid to local public transport companies. They usually include rubbish collection (although an extra charge is levied in some areas), recycling collection and water, although in some areas such as Auckland, water is billed separately.
Auckland residents have been protesting against water charges and rates for the last few years, because although water charges were recently excluded from their rates, they weren’t reduced! As a result, Auckland residents pay more or less the same as before in rates as well as expensive water charges (most households pay more than $800 per year).