PUNE: Over 16,000 properties, which have not been assessed for payment of property tax for a period ranging from six months to six years, were identified in the city limits during a month-long drive of the civic body.
The drive also found there were additional constructions in over 4,000 properties, but the owners failed to inform the civic administration about it. The unassessed properties are expected to mop-up an additional Rs 20 crore per year in the form of property tax. "The drive, which started in mid-November and concluded on December 31, has detected around 16,000 unassessed properties. All these properties will come under the property tax net," said Hemant Nikam, head of PMC's property tax department. The civic body will get around Rs 30 crore, including tax and penalty, as part of the drive.
He said most of these properties, including big residential and commercial complexes, are located in the fringe areas around the city. "With the income from other sources shrinking, there is greater need to get more revenue from sources like property tax," he said.
For the PMC, property tax is one of the main sources of revenue. The department handles the billing and collection of property tax on residential, commercial, plots and other types of properties - held privately or by government (state and Union) - within the municipal limits.
The city has around 7.5 lakh properties which fall in the ambit of property tax of the PMC.
Civic activists feel that lack of communication between various offices of the civic body has resulted in the delay in property assessment. "It is expected that as soon as the completion certificate is issued for a property, it comes under the property tax net. Different departments in PMC that deal with properties and construction are expected to have better coordination, the absence of which has resulted in many properties still out of the tax net," said Vivek Velankar, founder of Sajag Nagarik Manch, a citizens' group.
Nikam also admitted that the delay in assessment has resulted due to 'some systemic lacunae' such as manpower crunch. "We are planning new initiatives to increase the department's efficiency and overcome the lacunae," he said.
Property tax is charged on immovable or tangible real property, such as land, buildings and permanent improvements. Based on assessments, all property holders are expected to pay the tax. PMC assesses all residential and commercial properties situated within its limits. Property tax may also include basic house/building tax plus service taxes such as street tax, and conservancy/scavenging tax. It is collected either half yearly or annually.
The citizens, who pay the property tax before May 31, get the discount of 10%.