Corporation identifies 13 banks to collect tax in cash or as cheques, demand drafts

Several lakh residents who pay property tax in the city will soon have yet another easy mode of payment. Hundreds of counters in 13 banks may soon start accepting money, cheque or demand draft for property tax payment.

Any bill number, either old or new, is enough to pay the property tax at the bank counters. The banks have agreed to start collection of property tax from any of the 10.35 lakh assessees who are not comfortable with the existing modes of tax collection by the Chennai Corporation.

After the Corporation Council passes a resolution next week, the civic body will appoint the banks to collect remittances towards the levy.

The banks likely to be included in the first phase are Indian Overseas Bank, Indian Bank, Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank, ICICI, IDBI, Corporation Bank, HDFC, Axis Bank, City Union Bank, Andhra Bank, Karur Vysya Bank and State Bank of India.

The banks will not collect any service charge from the property tax assessees for the walk-in payment. Chennai Corporation had launched such a walk-in payment facility on a trial basis in 2003. The mode of tax collection, however, was not a success because of various problems, including reconciliation with the banks, as the entire property tax database was not online during that time.

Indian Bank, HDFC, ICICI Bank, Dhanalakshmi Bank and State Bank of India were some of the banks that were part of the old system. The facility was formally withdrawn in 2009.

The existing modes of payment of property tax include hand-held-devices, net banking, credit card, debit card and ITZ card payment, collection at counters in zones, headquarters and select divisions and Interactive Voice Response System.

The civic body will share the online property tax database of over 6.51 lakh assessees in the old city limits of Tondiarpet, Royapuram, Thiru-Vi-Ka-Nagar, Anna Nagar, Teynampet, Kodambakkam and Adyar and 3.83 lakh assesses in the newly added Tiruvottiyur, Manali, Madhavaram, Ambattur, Valasaravakkam, Alandur, Perungudi and Sholinganallur with the banks to facilitate the walk-in payment.

All the assessees in the expanded city could use the walk-in-payment facility after the Corporation council's approval. The property tax demand for 2011-2012 was Rs.558 crore and the civic body was only able to collect a relatively smaller portion of the demand when compared to that of the previous year.

As the Revenue Department conducted the Assembly and Local Body elections in the city last year, the collection of property tax was affected during the period. After constituting a committee for revision of property tax, the Corporation will soon test the waters for a reassessment of the properties in the city by GIS-based property tax information system in Adyar.

The civic body is readying street correlation statements for the zones to facilitate creation of new bill numbers for all the properties following the city expansion.

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Aloysius Xavier LopezJune 28, 2012

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