Bill is aimed at regularising property tax assessment: Minister

The Tamil Nadu State Property Tax Board Bill was among 11 Bills approved by the Assembly on Thursday, the final day of the budget session.

When the Property Tax Board Bill was taken up for consideration, Communist Party of India (Marxist) floor leader A. Soundararajan expressed apprehension that the legislation would take away rights of local bodies. However, Municipal Administration Minister K.P. Munusamy said that the bill was aimed at regularising the property tax assessment. Later, the House approved the Bill by a voice vote.

According to a senior official, the proposed board will complement functions of urban local bodies (ULBs) and will not be in conflict with the ULBs.

Explaining the rationale behind the Bill, the official said the board’s role would be essentially advisory in nature. The decision to form the board was taken following the 13th Finance Commission’s recommendation. As an advisory body, the board would have several functions. For example, it would make a comparative analysis of property tax rates across the ULBs, the official explained.

Asked whether other States had established such bodies, the official replied that the concept was new and gaining momentum and pointed out to the presence of such a board in Andhra Pradesh.

To be headed by a Secretary-level officer, the board would include Commissioner of Municipal Administration, Commissioner of Chennai Corporation and Director of Town Panchayats. The government would nominate three specialists in fields such as valuation of properties and taxation. The board would review property tax assessment system; suggest suitable basis for valuation of properties; recommend modalities for periodic revision of property tax and make recommendations on the valuation of properties located in urban areas of the State and the principles to govern the modifications of such valuation.

According to the bill’s statement of objects and reasons, the constitution of a State-level Property Tax Board was one of the pre-conditions to access the performance grant recommended by the Finance Commission for the local bodies. The board would provide assistance and technical guidance to the ULBs in the State for proper assessment and revision of property tax.

Among other Bills adopted were the Tamil Nadu Advocates Welfare Fund (Amendment) Amendment Bill; Entertainments (Amendment) Bill and the Stamp Bill.

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