The Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) has called for property tax law reforms to shore up Mysore City Corporation’s (MCC) revenue while streamlining the collection process.

Bhamy V. Shenoy, consumer activist and one of the founders of MGP, said if handled properly, the revenue accrued to the MCC by way of property tax can meet a large part of the funding required to service the city and provide civic amenities to the public.

The MCC should evolve a methodology of ascertaining if tax payers have computed their taxes properly under the self-assessment scheme (SAS).

While each person should pay their fair share, provisions must be made to reduce tax burden on those living on pension, Dr. Shenoy said.

It is pertinent to note that a 15 per cent hike on property tax will come into effect from May 1, 2014, as reported in The Hindu on Wednesday. .

The MGP suggested the corporation simplify the process of paying property taxes and it was incomprehensible as to why the tax payer should fill up umpteen forms in the age of computers. Dr. Shenoy called for online payment system for property tax.

Highlighting the need for an online property tax payment system, Dr. Shenoy said an analysis of the property tax collected by the MCC in the past underlines its lack of efficiency.

He pointed out that the property tax collected in 2000 was Rs. 6.2 crore, which was 10 per cent of the MCC’s total revenue. In 2008-09, Rs. 29 crore was collected by way of property tax, about 20 per cent of total revenue. The property tax collected in 2011-12 amounted to Rs. 40 crore, which was only 13 per cent of the total revenue.

“When one considers the potential of property tax revenue for Mysore city, which has more than 1.7 lakh registered properties, an estimate of Rs. 120 crore or about 30 per cent of total revenue was likely,” Dr. Shenoy said.

He also called for the system to be equitable, wherein those living in expensive houses should pay more than those living in a cheaper property.

“But laws are not framed that way. In the case of a 600 square feet house built on 10,000 square feet land, and a 800 sq.ft. house on 1000 sq.ft. property, the latter will pay more. Land is far more valuable, due to ever-increasing property values. But vacant land, though extremely valuable, is taxed less,” Dr. Shenoy pointed out.

‘Revenue accrued can meet a large part of funding required to service the city’