Target is to collect Rs. 2,500 cr. this fiscal
Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) will commence accepting property tax for 2014-15 through cheque, demand draft and pay order. Collection of tax this fiscal began earlier this month.
The decision to accept comes after after a few citizens’ groups and senior citizens appealed to the BBMP officials to accept payments through cheques as well. Those who pay property tax through cheque will be given temporary acknowledgement, and once the amount is transferred to BBMP account, actual receipt will be issued.
It may be recalled that BBMP had stopped accepting property tax through cheques as many of them had bounced. Last year alone, more than 8,800 cheques worth over Rs. 5.5 crore were dishonoured. “More than 80 per cent of dues have been recovered from these defaulters and BBMP had decided to stop accepting cheque payments. The need of the hour is to bring more properties under the tax net to achieve the collection target,” a senior revenue official told The Hindu.
During 2013-14, BBMP was able to collect property tax totalling Rs. 1,323 crore as against the target of Rs. 2,000 crore. For the fiscal 2014-15, BBMP has set itself a target of Rs. 2,500 crore. So far, the BBMP has been able to get Rs. 180 crore. Last year, during the same period, the BBMP had collected Rs. 260 crore. “The shortfall in collection is because during the first three weeks of April, the officials had been deputed for election-related work.”
On the availability of property tax forms, the official said: “We have already despatched forms to the BangaloreOne and BBMP Help Centres. Of the 2.2 lakh people who have already paid property tax, over 90,000 have done so online.”
Meanwhile, the former Opposition Leader M.K. Gunashekar has urged the Commissioner to extend the five per cent rebate in property tax to citizens who make full payment till May-end. The current rebate period is only for a month and will end on April 30. “The tax collection process has to be citizen-friendly and by extending the rebate period, the BBMP will be encouraging more people to pay their taxes,” he said.