Authorising the charging of fees and levies
This is a single section from Chapter 17. Read the full chapter here.
Who will pay the fee or levy and in what circumstances can it be waived or refunded?
Legislation must clearly identify who may be charged the fee or levy and the circumstances in which it may be waived or refunded.
Fees should only be charged to those people who benefit from the service or function. The fee should not be used to offset the cost of future users of the service or to attempt to recover any deficit that may have occurred as a result of previous under-recovery. A fee that does either of those things will risk being declared unlawful.
Levies may be charged to a class or group of people (often defined by the fact that they are undertaking a certain activity) to fund certain costs that may arise in connection with that activity. It is not necessary that the person paying obtain a direct benefit from paying the levy.
Payment of a fee or levy cannot be waived or refunded without authorisation from an Act. The Act may either explicitly authorise the refund or waiver, or it may empower the making of secondary legislation to authorise a refund or waiver. In either event, the Act or secondary legislation should identify the circumstances under which the fee or levy may be waived or refunded.
A power to waive or refund a fee or levy is, in effect, an exemption power, so the considerations in Chapter 16 apply.