Is it property tax or dacoity by NMC?

Property Tax

Representational Pic

Nagpur: The Property Tax Department of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) is gaining notoriety of gang of dacoits over inflated tax demands.

According to norms, before increasing the property tax and issuance of demand notice to property owners they have to give an opportunity to raise objection under Rule 15 (2). However, the NMC is disregarding the rules and harassing the property holders with exorbitant tax demands.

Property Tax Department is scaling new heights in harassment of citizens. It issuing inflated property tax demands and threatening property owners with attachment of property unless the latter paid up. NMC laws are being brazenly violated. Those property owners who were paying Rs 500 tax are now receiving tax demands of Rs 11,000-12,000. Those paying Rs 1000-2000 are now slapped with demand notices of Rs 25,000-30,000. “It is not tax. It is a daylight dacoity by NMC in the houses of common, gullible people,” reacted the angry citizens.

Officials should assess tax as per the old method, but they are doing it by new method and levying interest on it. NMC staff issues warrants for seizing property without issuing a notice. The citizens get scared and agree to pay gratification to them, alleged some aggrieved property holders.Some of the property owners’ tax was about Rs 200 as per the old system but increased to Rs 4,000 when calculated by new method.

Some residents alleged that the inflated property tax demand notices were ‘illegal’. If the property owners fail to pay property tax before December 31, 2017, they have to pay a hefty fine at the rate 2 per cent per month. Property Tax Department is misleading the gullible property owners. NMC has issued notices on the basis of old constitution of wards. It is binding on the civic body to issue notice under Rule 15 (2) and give 21 days to the receiver to file objections, if any.

However, NMC’s actions are not in tune with the rule. Hence, these demand notes should be scrapped, they demanded. The rules relating to property tax rules were abolished after dissolution of City of Nagpur Corporation (CNC) Act. There are no rules after dissolution of CNC Act. The officers are behaving in an arbitrary manner, and issuing property tax demands as per their whims. The rules should be framed and approved by the State Government, they demanded.

Over 5.35 lakh citizens will have to pay property tax much more than anticipated in the new tax system. The Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) has started revaluation of existing properties that is likely to send the property tax northwards. Also, the civic body is going to recover the difference in amount of the last two fiscal which too will add to the financial burden on tax payers.

As per the NMC property tax department’s data, the survey of around 1.25 lakh properties has been completed in the last one year. The department has details of over 3 lakh properties. It plans to complete the revaluation of around 4.50 lakh properties by end of May. The revaluation of remaining properties will be completed by October. Revaluation has not been done in the last decade. The NMC will take stock of expansion in properties or change in user, location, ready reckoner value, renovation etc before arriving at the value of the property.

The NMC had implemented new ready reckoner-based rateable value property tax from April 1, 2015. It is estimated that the property tax of existing properties will increase two-three times in the new system. After addition of revaluation amount, the property tax will increase further. The NMC has continued with the decision to recover the difference in amount of the last two fiscal, which is the difference in amount in the past and new systems. The civic body did not recover tax as per the new tax system in 2015-16 and 2016-17 fearing public outrage before the municipal elections.