- What is the levy used for?
- How is the levy collected?
- What legislation is the levy based on?
- How do I know how much I am paying?
- How is the levy calculated?
- Why are there different rates for Metropolitan Fire Brigade and Country Fire Authority areas?
- How do I pay the levy?
- Are there any concessions?
- What is capital improved value?
- What if I disagree with my capital improved value?
- How is the type of property I own determined?
- If I sell my property, do I get a refund for the portion of the year that I no longer own the property?
- Do businesses pay the levy?
- I am a farmer with multiple land parcels: do I pay the levy on each one?
- Does non-rateable land attract the levy?
- What happens if I cannot pay the levy?
- What happens if a supplementary valuation occurs?
- Does the levy mean I no longer need to insure my home and property?
- Why is the levy charged on vacant land?
What is the levy used for?
The levy funds Victoria's fire and emergency services.
How is the levy collected?
Before 1 July 2013, a fire services levy charge was added onto insurance premiums to recover the cost of insurers’ contributions to the Country Fire Authority and Metropolitan Fire Brigade.
Following a recommendation from the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, the collection method was changed. From 1 July 2013, the levy was removed from insurance premiums, with property owners contributing via their council rates.
What legislation is the levy based on?
The levy is collected in accordance with the Fire Services Property Levy Act 2012.
How do I know how much I am paying?
The amount of levy you pay is displayed on your council rate notices.
How is the levy calculated?
The levy comprises two parts:
- a fixed charge
- a variable rate.
Before 1 July 2020, the variable rate was based on the property's:
- capital improved value.
From 1 July 2020, the property location no longer affects the levy amount.
The levy is calculated using the following formula:
Fixed charge + (variable rate x capital improved value ) – concession (if eligible) = Levy
Why are there different rates for Metropolitan Fire Brigade and Country Fire Authority areas?
Before 1 July 2020, there were different rates depending on whether a property was located in the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) or Country Fire Authority (CFA) area. The separate levies recognised the different costs associated with funding each service.
From 1 July 2020, this no longer applies. Instead, the same rates will apply to properties in the same property classification across Victoria.
This is because, from 1 July 2020, all MFB and CFA career firefighters will become part of Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV). FRV’s new boundary will cover the existing MFB boundary, serving metropolitan Melbourne, and outer urban areas and larger regional centres.
How do I pay the levy?
You can pay the levy in the same manner as you pay your rates. This means that you can pay in four instalments. Refer to your council rate notice for more information.
Are there any concessions?
Holders of pensioner concession cards and Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Cards (Totally and Permanently Incapacitated and War Widows) receive a concession on their home (principal place of residence). Only one concession applies per property per annum.
Property owners who currently receive a council rate concession in respect of their home (principal place of residence) automatically receive the levy concession.
If you believe you are entitled to a concession and have not received it, please contact your local council.
For more information on Victorian concessions, call the Concessions Information Line on 1800 658 521.
What is capital improved value?
Capital improved value is the value of the land, buildings and any other capital improvements made to the property as determined by the general valuation process. It is displayed on the council rate notice for the property.
What if I disagree with my capital improved value?
You can object to the capital improved value of your property with your local council. Contact your local council for more information on the objection process.
How is the type of property I own determined?
A valuer allocates an Australian Valuation Property Classification Code (AVPCC) based on the existing use of the land. This code is used to determine the land use classification applicable to the property.
If I sell my property, do I get a refund for the portion of the year that I no longer own the property?
No. Similar to council rates, there may be adjustments made at settlement, but this is a matter between the vendor and the purchaser.
Do businesses pay the levy?
All property owners, including businesses, pay the levy when they pay their council rates.
I am a farmer with multiple land parcels: do I pay the levy on each one?
Primary production properties comprising multiple land parcels may be eligible for a Single Farm Enterprise Exemption, which means you only pay the fixed charge on one property within the enterprise.
Contact your council for the single farm enterprise exemption application form, or contact us for more information about this exemption.
Does non-rateable land attract the levy?
Yes, most non-rateable land attracts the levy.
What happens if I cannot pay the levy?
As they do with rates, councils are able to waive or defer the whole or part of the levy. However, a council can only waive or defer payment of the levy if it also waives or defers payment of rates for that property.
If a property owner does not pay the levy, councils are expected to take steps to recover outstanding amounts, which may include charging interest or initiating court action.
What happens if a supplementary valuation occurs?
When a supplementary valuation occurs, the respective council issues a supplementary rate notice with the adjusted levy amount due as a result of the change in the capital improved value or land type classification. Any payments already made at the time of the supplementary valuation are credited against the payment of the new levy amounts.
Does the levy mean I no longer need to insure my home and property?
No, the levy is not insurance and does not negate the need to have insurance.
Why is the levy charged on vacant land?
Land can present a fire risk even where there are no buildings or structures on it, so owners of vacant land also contribute to the fire services for the risk posed by that land.
As a tenant, do I pay the levy?
Property owners pay the levy when they pay their council rates. The tenant would only be required to pay the levy if they contribute towards the outgoings of the property, in accordance with their rental agreement (such as commercially leased properties).