Only 30 per cent of the nearly 4 lakh building owners filed assessment forms

With majority of the building owners failing to file self-assessment forms of property tax, the Kochi Corporation is taking up the task of assessing the buildings.

Only 30 per cent of the nearly 4 lakh building owners came forward to file the assessment forms before the March 31 deadline. The reluctance of the building owners to file the assessment forms and clear the arrears have hit the corporation hard as it denied the local body tax to the tune of Rs. 18 crore.

The building owners could file the forms only after clearing the tax arrears. Those who have not filed tax assessment could include the owners of unauthorised buildings, those who have made unauthorised constructions in the permitted structures and who have tax arrears against their names. “Now that majority of the building owners have failed to file the returns, the local body will start assessing the buildings for tax shortly,” said Deputy Mayor B. Bhadra.

The officials of the Revenue Department of the local body will start assessing the buildings after crosschecking the details with the documents available at the dossier of local body. After the assessment of taxes, the tax payers would have the option of appealing against the assessment. Appeals would have to be filed with the Tax Appeals Standing Committee of the local body, said Ms. Bhadra.

During the assessment, the officials of the local body would look for alterations and modifications in buildings that were introduced without the approval of the local body. Illegal constructions, change of classification of buildings and similar changes would be considered. Taxes would be slapped according to the changes that had been introduced in the buildings, she said.

A large number of buildings, which were constructed and assessed as residential ones, were converted into commercial buildings in the city. Such buildings would be reassessed as commercial ones and taxed accordingly, she said.

In the case of applicants who have filed assessment forms, the officials of the local body will start preparing demand notices. These tax payers too will get the option of filing appeals against the assessment with the Tax Appeal Standing Committee of the corporation. Random checking of the assessment forms and physical verification of the buildings will also be carried out as part of the new assessment system. The new assessment system was introduced as part of a government policy to revise taxes. It was 17 years ago that the property tax was last revised, she said.

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