PUNE: The civic administration, struggling to achieve the annual budget revenue target of Rs 4,167.5 crore, is now focusing on property tax collection. The administration has asked property owners to pay their taxes before approaching the civic body with tax-related grievances.
Octroi,property tax and development charges are the main sources of revenue for the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). The civic body replaced octroi with Local Body Tax (LBT) this April. Octroi contributed to 40-42% of the revenue. Now, the civic body is unsure if the new tax regime will match octroi collections.
Owners of around 7.5 lakh properties in the city, including open plots, commercial and residential properties, must pay the tax. Citizens with grievances have been asked to pay property tax first.
“I purchased the flat recently and the builder used the property for commercial purpose. I have requested the PMC to change the commercial tax structure to residential. Some property owners from our building have been approaching the property tax department repeatedly for a couple of years. However, we continue to receive tax dues for commercial property. Now, they are asking us to pay the dues before approaching them with our grievances,” said a property owner.
As many as 1,287 properties in city have been charged twice. Officials admitted that records of tax payment need updating to avoid double taxation of some properties. The civic body imposes property tax on vacant plots too. Tax is also imposed on constructed structures and the vacant land and the redeveloped properties which came up after the demolition of old wadas.
“Despite repeated requests, the civic body continues to send me double bills and now they insist that I pay double tax for the property,” a citizen said. The standing committee has not decided about this matter despite the department admitting that properties are being taxed twice and the mistake needs rectification.
A senior civic official said the property tax department was under pressure to get the maximum property tax revenue as other sources of revenue have been shrinking. The civic budget crossed the Rs 4,000-crore for the first time this year when the general body approved Rs 4,167.5 crore-budget for the 2013-14 fiscal. Even while presenting the draft budget, municipal commissioner Mahesh Pathak had said with limited revenue generation and restricted resources, there is immense pressure on the civic body to develop infrastructure to match the rapid growth.
The civic body has already announced the launch of a drive to screen about 50,000 properties to check commercial use of residential properties. The civic administration plans to mop up revenue worth Rs 50 crore from the drive to be launched next month which will continue till December 31.