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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Uncertainty over discount scheme’s implementation

The move will impact people’s expenditure though the civic body’s ruling BJP recently announced 15 percent discount on property tax for sincere taxpayers for the financial year.

Written by Ajay Jadhav | Pune |
Updated: February 27, 2021 10:54:58 pm
PMC property taxThe PMC has also started to seal properties in its jurisdictions for failing to clear their dues despite serving notice. (File)

Taxpayers of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) will have to spend more on property tax for 2021-22 financial year as the civic administration has decided to withdraw the decades-old 40 percent concession scheme on tax. Besides, the PMC is uncertain over implementation of the recently announced 15 percent discount scheme for sincere taxpayers.

On February 18, the BJP turned down the civic administration’s proposal of 11 percent tax hike and instead passed a resolution in the general body meeting to give 15 percent discount to sincere taxpayers of residential properties that cleared their dues before September 30 last year.

“The PMC has a total of 10.81 lakh properties, including residential and commercial. It had received property tax from around 4.5 lakh residential properties before September 30. If the sincere taxpayers clear their dues before March in the next financial year, they will get a discount of 15 percent,” Hemant Rasane, chairperson of the standing committee, had said.

The PMC, from the coming financial year, is all set to withdraw the 40 percent discount on property tax applicable since five decades, citing the state government’s directions. Also, there is uncertainty over the implementation of the 15 percent discount resolution passed by the general body.

“The 40 percent discount scheme on property tax will not exist from 2021-22. I cannot comment on the implementation of the 15 percent discount move. The civic administration will have to take a legal opinion on it,” said Vilas Kanade, joint municipal commissioner and in-charge of the property tax department.

He added that the property tax bills must be dispatched to taxpayers from April 1 so that the final decision on what would be the property tax, with or without 15 percent discount, can be taken before that.

Withdrawal of the 40 percent discount scheme would increase the PMC’s revenue collection in the next financial year, Kanade said.

The discount scheme was applicable since 1971 after the general body had passed a resolution, citing damage to properties because of flooding of Mutha river due to breach in Khadakwasla dam in 1961. The flood had claimed around 1,000 lives and rendered 65,000 people homeless. The move aimed to help people save money to repair and maintain their damaged properties. The state audit department around seven years ago had directed the PMC to withdraw the discount scheme.

Meanwhile, the PMC had two years ago stopped applying the discount scheme to newly developed properties and was to implement the same for the old residential properties.

Property tax is the main direct revenue source of the civic body after the abolition of the local body tax and octroi. The PMC to increase its revenue collection had launched an amnesty scheme for property tax to get residents clear their dues with a discount of minimum 70 percent in penalty. It managed to get additional Rs 487.92 crore from the amnesty scheme to property tax, taking the total collection to Rs 1,370.99 crore till January 26 this year.

The PMC has also started to seal properties in its jurisdictions for failing to clear their dues despite serving notice. It has also taken up a drive to identify unassessed properties in its jurisdiction and were able to add 40,000 properties in the tax ambit in the current financial year. The merger of 23 villages in the PMC is also going to increase the number of properties in its tax ambit in the next financial year.

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