Defaulters owe Rs 13 crore in property tax to civic body, many of them schools

Over the past nine months, the municipal corporation has collected over Rs 14 crore in property taxes, but an almost identical amount is yet to be collected from defaulters many of whom are private schools who recently lost a case in courts where they had sought exemption from paying the tax.

There are 2,100 defaulters who have not paid property tax, amounting to Rs 13 crore, to the municipal corporation ever since the tax was introduced in 2004. Lack of any stringent action against the defaulters and an outdated collection system are resulting in revenue loss to the civic body.

Of the Rs 13 crore, around Rs 6 crore has to be paid by a number of private schools.

The only measure that the civic body has taken is to send notices to defaulters and impose a high penalty. While the amount to be paid keeps getting compounded no action has been taken against non-compliance.

As per the Municipal Act, the next step is attaching the property of the defaulter. For this, a civil suit has to be filed by the officials which is mostly a step avoided by them.

In its annual budget for 2012-13, the MC has projected Rs 19 crore as its expected revenue from collection of property tax. The target is yet to be met.

Amidst clamour for imposing tax on residential property and increasing the amount imposed on commercial property, Mayor Subhash Chawla has asked for computerisation of the records. "While the tax already imposed is not being collected, there is pressure to increase the amount. If the tax is collected from the defaulters, there would be no need to impose more tax. A fresh survey is also required to ensure that assessment of tax has been properly done. The computerisation of records would be done so that people are able to pay the tax online," he said.

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