Property tax arrears add up to ₹1,211 crore

Officials reportedly told to identify the defaulters and issue demand notices

Property owners – residential and commercial – owe ₹1,211 crore as property tax, which has been pending for more than one year, according to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).

But with most revenue officials deputed for COVID-19 duties, the civic body has not been able to focus on revenue mobilisation, admitted senior officials. This has resulted in a slump in property tax collections this year.

BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad had reportedly directed the revenue officials to start identifying the defaulters in each zone and issue demand notices. From April 1 to August 5, the BBMP had collected ₹1,804.80. However, this was ₹165 crore less than the tax collected in the corresponding period last fiscal, said an official.

The BBMP has set a target of collecting ₹3,500 crore this year. During the last financial year, the BBMP had garnered a total of ₹2,729.77 crore.

As per the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976, the civic body may serve demand notices to the property tax defaulters. If the property owners ignore the demand notices, there is a provision to seize movable properties of the defaulters.

The KMC Act also allows the civic body to check if the property owners have under-declared and remitted less tax under the Self-Assessment Scheme. Recently, the report on Total Station Survey conducted on some commercial properties was tabled before the BBMP council.

Kacharakanahalli councillor Padmanabha Reddy pointed out that the civic body had incurred a loss of not less than ₹500 crore for which he blamed officials giving exemptions in connivance with property owners. Citing the report, he said though there are many star hotels in the city, officials had classified them as just hotels and restaurants, due to which less property tax was paid to the BBMP. He urged the Mayor to direct the Commissioner to write to the government and Chief Secretary seeking powers to initiate disciplinary action against officials concerned.

By May 31, 2021, the civic body hopes to not just bring more properties under the tax net, but also collect more tax.

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