Proposal to ease burden for residential and commercial units

The proposed property tax hike may be revisited in Kochi.

The local body will work on a proposal to bring down the upper ceiling of the tax regime for both commercial and residential units. The proposals need to be approved by the State government, said Tony Chammany, Kochi Mayor.

The Corporation will not force people to pay the revised tax till a final decision on the new tax regime is taken. It will also not issue demand notices to the residents based on the new system of tax assessment. However, it will accept voluntary payment of tax, he told media persons.

In case of new buildings, the property tax would be assessed based on the plinth area of the building as proposed by the State government, he said.

The local body had proposed a maximum hike of 20 per cent for residential units and 90 per cent for commercial units. This upper limit may have to be brought down considering the public demand, subject to the approval of the State government, he said.

Some discrepancies had crept into the tax assessment notices issued earlier. Clerical mistakes, too, had occurred while preparing the assessment documents of close to three lakh buildings in the city. Such errors will also be corrected, he said.

Earlier, the council witnessed noisy scenes with the LDF members walking out of the meeting asking the civic authorities to abolish the new tax regime.

The demand got the support of some Congress councillors, too. The LDF announced that it will not cooperate with the civic administration till it writes to the State government for cancelling the government order, which introduced the tax system. The Opposition members walked out of the meeting after the Mayor refused to give in to the Opposition demand.

Later talking to media persons, Mr. Chammany said that the Opposition was trying to politicise the issue. The CPI (M)-led Corporations of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Kozhikode are following the government order regarding the tax revision without protesting.

The party had taken a different position in Kochi in an attempt to take political mileage out of the issue, which cannot be accepted, he said. It was nearly two decades ago that the property tax was revised in the city, he said.

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