The shortfall in property tax collection has been pinching Nagpur Municipal Corporation really harsh, for quite some years. The tall claims made by NMC officials in pacing up tax collection stood null and void, thanks to the hurdle created at the upper level after second line officers complete their assessment. This has made too difficult for the civic body to rise above its poor financial situation. However, the NMC officials appeared to have woken up to the current storm triggered by the sudden drought in its exchequer. The civic authorities have started eyeing the bigger defaulters and catching them up to cough up the right amount of property tax.
Attempting as the last resort to increase revenue through property taxes, the officials have decided to revise the demands for those taxpayers who have been relishing the benefits of paying petty tax instead of the amount actually incurred on them.
Last month, NMC’s property tax department assessed the outstanding on 28 semi-permanent eating joints constructed opposite Ambazari Lake (Futala Talao). Sources informed that the NMC has prepared to send NIT and the concerned contractor a demand of Rs 2.5 crore as outstanding property tax for 5 years between 2009 and 2014. It was informed that if the tax is not deposited within 30 days of receiving the demand, the 2 percent interest will be levied every month.
In line up to this revision, the seven eateries running on the land of Nagpur University which used to get Rs 15,000 as annual tax demand has now received the whopping tax demand of Rs 10,65,000. Similarly, a dining house located in Civil Lines has been assessed for tax and a demand of Rs 1.25 lakh has been served to them. The last news that came from this dining house was that the owners were trying to get the nagarsewaks and officials in order to reduce the tax through ‘mutual’ adjustments.
Sources informed that a famous commercial building located in Civil Lines owes Rs 6.28 lakh to NMC in the form of unpaid property tax.
Sources revealed that the said contractor might direct the demand to the shop owners. In that case the contractor will have to present the documents proving that he had rented out the place. Sources said if such a situation arises then the amount of property tax could increase further.
Experts in the department were of the view that if the property tax is revaluated then a certain increase of 25% to 40% can be achieved in property tax. Sources alleged that the ward officers and officials of zonal property tax offices have indulged in unfair means to settle the issues, causing a big hole in NMC exchequer.
All the zone officers have been directed to resolve all disputes related to property tax by January 15.
NMC lags in tax collection from NIT properties
It has been noticed that the NMC has been quite slow in recovering property tax from the establishments run on NIT land.
No tax on NMC buildings?
Moreover, the NMC administration even spares its own building from evaluation of property tax. The officials concerned failed to explain whether NMC buildings are kept out of property tax purview.
Nagpur Today View
Every time the demand notes are sent to the defaulters and also to those whose property tax assessment was never done, a mechanism of ‘mutual setting’ and temporary solution to the crisis is immediately forced into place. The junior officers though make an honest effort in assessing the actual property tax on any business establishment, the blockade appears from the higher authorities who sit on the file of major defaulters. Under such scheme of things the recovery according to the revised demand notes is still under suspicion. It’s high time the higher authorities should rise above the disparity and mutual self and work towards healthy practice in civic body. It is certain that cash-starved NMC will get new lease of life once the property tax is properly recovered as per the assessed value. Instead of playing savior to the defaulters the higher officials should enforce some strict measures to bring in some liquidity in the form of concrete property tax.