The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has registered a record collection of Rs 50 crore in property tax in the first 12 days of the new financial year. It’s a record for the start of any financial year so far. Civic officials attribute the success to their initiatives to “connect” better with property owners through email and mobile phones so as to make tax payment a hassle-free affair. Besides, the usual delivery of bills through post at the doorstep of property owners continued, although this time the civic administration made extra efforts to ensure the bills were received by property owners on time.
Enhanced communication also enabled the PMC to publicise tax concessions for those who pay the tax within the first two months of the fiscal. The civic body used internet and mobile communication to send tax bills to property owners, in addition to delivery of bills through the government postal department.
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“We had a record collection in the beginning of the financial year. This is due to efforts to increase connectivity with citizens,” said Suhas Mapari, PMC Property Tax and Assessment Officer.
Earlier, too, the civic administration had been delivering tax bills at the doorstep of property owners though it was done either through self help groups, private agencies or courier companies. There were complaints that bills had not reached property owners on time. Thereafter, the responsibility of delivering bills at the doorstep was handed over to the government postal department.
“PMC Connect”, an initiative of the PMC administration made things simpler for property owners. All they had to do was opt for getting communications and reminders from time to time from the civic body though internet and mobile phone communication. “The citizens who register for the online facility can view details about the tax and pay their bills. They can also raise queries. The request is tracked to know its status,” he said.
Every citizen has a unique online account, Mapari said, “Citizens can download details of property bills and view the information of property owners as registered in the property tax billing system.”
PMC is reaching out to people through mobile and email services. The helpline service for property tax is getting an encouraging response, officials said.
“We decided to update data by directing the postal department to return the bills for properties that do not exist and also where there is a change in ownership,” he said.
PMC has been collecting tax through Citizen Facilitation Centre (CFC) kiosks across the city. It has an online payment facility. There is a tie-up with Cosmos Bank and HDFC Bank for tax collection.
CFC kiosks are open on holidays as well to enable people to pay taxes. Those paying taxes by May-end are given 10 per cent discount in general tax. The civic body charges 2 per cent penalty every month thereafter. Taxpayers are also given a rebate if the property owners implement rainwater harvesting or vermicomposting projects, or adopt means of tapping solar energy.