KOLKATA: The procedure for property assessment is changing. In a step to put an end to the existing system, where the Kolkata Municipal Corporation makes general revaluation of properties every six years, the civic body now wants citizens themselves to give details of their houses/flats in a bid to make the assessment transparent.
Under the new system, the assessee has to fill in a Property Information Form (PIF) and send it to the corporation. KMC may send inspectors to examine the claim in case a declaration is grossly at variance with information already entered in the inspector’s books. But that holds true for old residential areas. The purpose of the PIF is to bring in a large number of buildings that have come up in the so-called “added areas”, many of which do not presently come under KMC’s assessment net.
KMC has already sent PIFs to each household in as many as 18 wards in the city with a request to fill it in and send it back by end-July. The corporation will send the PIF to another 15 wards in the next two months.
What an owner needs to do is to give the covered space of his/her house, the total number of floors in the building or flat, including proportionate common area in case of a flat, the age of the building, whether the building structure is concrete or not, and the usage of the house or flat: whether it is residential or commercial. The PIF is to be filled in by the house/flat owner and also tenants if the owner has rented it out.
Those having a house with vacant land will also have to provide details of the land.
In the first phase, the PIFs have been sent to Ballygunge, Jodhpur Park, New Alipore, Deshapriya Park and Moore Avenue in south Kolkata; Behala, Jadavpur and Garden Reach in the added areas; and Shyambazar, Bagbazar and upcoming highrises along BT Road in the north.
Civic officials said KMC commissioner Khalil Ahmed initiated the move to widen the assessment net that will fetch additional revenue to make up for the loss over the past three years when the civic body failed to undertake the existing general revaluation (GR) because of the debate over the KMC’s switching over to the unit area-based assessment system.
That system was shelved after the KMC could not arrive at a consensus over several development indicators to determine tax rates for the proposed seven zones in the city.
Insiders felt that the commissioner thus chose the “middle path” by introducing a system that would bring to book the new buildings in the emerging localities. “The initial response to PIF was sluggish. It has picked up in the last week, with citizens sending filled-in forms to the KMC,” said chief manager (revenue) Bhaskar Ghosh.
Ghosh, however, pointed out certain discrepancies that were apparent in the forms. “For instance, some of the taxpayers have not mentioned the details of the covered space or whether the nature of the property is residential or commercial,” he said.
The reason for the omissions, said sources, is simple to understand: the tax rate on commercial property is higher than that on residential property. Revenue officers took stock of the situation in a meeting on Monday and decided to send inspectors in areas where such discrepancies are high.
Civic officials have set a target of mopping up Rs 800 crore from revenue this year, an increase of Rs 300 crore from last year’s figure.