Rating in General and Rating Authorities
Rates are a tax on the occupation of property based on the annual rental value and they are normally paid by the occupier of the property. The rating system stems from the Poor Relief Act 1601 and was to raise money for the support of the poor in each parish by way of a tax on the occupation of land and buildings within that parish. Those responsible for raising the money at that time were the overseers for each parish. Rating was found to be so convenient and equitable a means of raising money for local purposes that it has continued, mutatis mutandis, until the present day. As a system of taxation it combines all the good features of a tax. It is fair between one taxpayer and another, easily and cheaply administered, simple and certain to collect and hard to evade. The legal basis of all rating today is the General Rate Act 1967, hereafter referred to as GRA 1967. This Act consolidated a mass of earlier legislation without making any major changes in the existing system. Today rating as a tax is administered by rating authorities, who are defined later in this chapter. The funds collected are a part of the annual income of district councils and county councils. At present rates form about 30 per cent of the income of these two types of local authority; the remainder of their respective incomes is provided by grants from central government from funds collected from the taxpayer at large.
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