Scanner on property tax evaders
Most of the immovable properties in the city have not yet been assessed as the Cuttack Municipal Corporation has no clear information on the number of such houses
Dec 30, 2014
Source : The Telegraph


Cuttack: A special drive has been launched to identify the residential and commercial buildings that continue to remain outside the corporation's tax radar.

In spite of the mushrooming of new constructions in the recent years, most of these immovable properties have not yet been assessed as the Cuttack Municipal Corporation has no clear information on the number of such houses.

The civic body's standing committee for taxation, finance and accounts is of the view that the corporation has been short of meeting the target tax revenue in the past few years.

"The non-assessed residential and commercial houses and newly constructed buildings are taking a huge toll on the civic body's earning potential," said standing committee head Ajay Barik.

"A special drive is on for assessment of the new holdings for tax collection," said Barik.

The civic body has been setting an annual target to collect Rs 4 crore from holding tax. But, only around 65 to 70 per cent of the target has been achieved in the past four years.

During the current fiscal, the target was revised, and the plan was to collect Rs 5 crore. But till date, the civic body has been able to collect around Rs 1.8 crore. Officials, however, are hopeful of achieving the target by March 2015.

"We are in a mission mode to achieve the target. Recently, we have formed four special squads - each led by a senior officer to expedite the process of tax collection. Besides, special camps will be launched in all the 59 wards from January 16 for assessment, revision and collection under a single window system," said municipal commissioner Gyana Das.

"We aim to achieve the remaining 40 per cent higher collection this year. A major part of it will come from hiking and collecting taxes from residential holdings which are being used for commercial or semi-commercial purposes," he said.

The municipal council on October 31 had approved enhancement in the annual rental value for commercial establishments for holding tax.

An official said any property within the municipal limits and having clear title is liable to pay holding tax at 20.50 per cent of the annual rental value, either residential or commercial.

The annual rental value for residential holdings have remained unchanged at Rs 2 per sqft, while for small shops, it has been increased from Rs 5 to Rs 10 per sqft. Kalyan mandaps, gold ornament shops, nursing homes, hotels and so on will be charged Rs 20 per sqft instead of Rs 7, and it will be Rs 25 per sqft instead of Rs 10 for banks and insurance companies.

The annual rental value for pathological laboratories and diagnostic clinics has been increased from Rs 7 per sqft to Rs 20 per sqft, while for colleges and English medium schools, it has been increased from Rs 5 to Rs 10 per sqft and from Rs 5 per sqft to Rs 7 per sqft, respectively, official sources said.

Hundreds of residential buildings have been converted into commercial properties. "The tax collection will go up after segregation of all such holdings is over, as part of the special assessment drive," the municipal commissioner said.



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