To increase its revenue collection, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) standing committee on Tuesday approved the amnesty scheme for defaulters of property tax and encourage them to join the league of regular tax payers.
“The civic administration had proposed an amnesty scheme for all 2.84 lakh property tax defaulters. However, the committee decided to allow the amnesty scheme for properties only with an annual ratable value of less than 25,000 as implementing the amnesty scheme for all would have sent a wrong signal among regular tax payers,” said Ashwini Kadam, committee chairperson.
Kadam said the committee approved the administration’s amnesty scheme, but wants strict action against those failing to pay the dues despite the amnesty scheme. The PMC administration can implement the amnesty scheme with 75% discount in penalty for defaulters if they make a one-time settlement in the first month from January 11 to February 10, and 50% discount in penalty for defaulters if they make a one-time settlement in the second month from February 11 to March 10.
There are a total of 2.84 lakh property tax defaulters in PMC with dues worth Rs 1,919 crore, including a penalty of Rs 806 crore. “The PMC policy of charging two per cent penalty every month has been discouraging defaulters to settle their dues. The state government had urged to take up an amnesty scheme to settle the dues and bring defaulters among the list of regular tax payers,” said Suhas Mapari, deputy municipal commissioner, adding that the Thane Municipal Corporation and Kalyan Dombilvli Municipal Corporation too had launched a similar amnesty scheme.
The decision to launch an amnesty scheme for properties with ARV less than 25,000 would keep only 13,000 defaulters away from the scheme’s benefit, Mapari said, and added that properties elligible for amnesty scheme total a tax of Rs 515 crore, along with Rs 520 crore penalty on it.
“We expect the recovery of at least Rs 200 crore from the amnesty scheme, which would also benefit in the long run by getting defaulters in the list of regular tax payers,” Mapari said, adding that the PMC would launch a publicity campaign for the purpose.
Congress corporator Avinash Bagawe pointed out that the biggest defaulters are educational institutes and corporate offices but the civic administration is slow in taking action against them. “The amnesty scheme should not discourage regular tax payers from paying their taxes every year or it would create problems for the civic body,” he added.