Tax Committee chief blames NMC staffers for ‘problems’ with property tax recovery

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 10 Feb 2018 09:30:14


Staff Reporter,

That, Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) is facing a problem with its finances is no secret. That, there are ‘problems’ with recovery of property tax also is no secret. Now, who is responsible for the mess also is no secret. According to Avinash Thakre, Chairman of Tax and Tax Assessment Committee of NMC, the officials and employees of various NMC zone offices are responsible for ‘problems’ with property tax recovery.

Thakre, who chaired a meeting of officials from various zones on Thursday, told the reporters on Friday that despite issuing notices, suspension, and freezing of increments, 90 per cent of the officials and employees at various zone offices of NMC were ‘not co-operating’ in tax recovery. “Many have not even distributed tax demands properly, some have shied away from taking action against defaulters, some are simply not interested. All these have affected NMC’s revenue collection through property tax recovery. But, we are not going to tolerate it anymore. We are in the process of creating a parallel remedy mechanism,” he told reporters.

Asked about action taken against staffers not doing their work properly, Thakre said that two increments of 35 staffers were stopped, five were suspended. Besides, on the insistence of Tax and Tax Assessment Committee,
the civic administration issued auction notices for 340 properties. “This had a positive impact on the defaulters. Barring 10 per cent cases in which NMC auctioned the properties and issued sale certificates to the buyers, the defaulters in 90 per cent of cases appeared in person and cleared the tax dues,” he said.

In many meetings, Thakre said, the officials and employees at zone level used to cite the reason that property tax recovery suffered due to dues with Government and disputed properties. On review, he said, it was found that 338 disputed properties had tax dues of Rs 30 crore of which Rs 20 crore was with only one property -- Inox mall in Lakadganj Zone -- and the matter was in court. Besides, in other matters that were sub-judice, the dues of Rs 16 crore included Rs 14 crore with Empress City alone, he said.
As far as dues pertaining to Government properties were concerned, he informed the reporters, 50 per cent were recovered.

Within a span of 10 days, as many as 21,000 appearance notices were issued and 5,878 of those who received the notices paid Rs 2.25 crore worth of tax dues. “Though we are yet to recover a large part of dues from others, we are sure that the tough steps initiated now will yield positive results,” Thakre said.

Milind Meshram, Assistant Commissioner, said that NMC’s property tax collection this year so far was Rs 6 crore more than that in the corresponding period in the previous year. Asked about the delivery of tax demands, he said that tax demands would be delivered in case of 2,43,000 properties by February 18.

The remaining tax demands would be delivered as soon as possible.
Asked if the property-owners who do not receive tax demands by March 31, 2018, will have to pay penalty, Thakre said that they would not have to pay it. “When someone has not received demand, the question of paying penalty does not arise. But, those who receive demand before the end of this financial year will have to clear the dues by March 31,” he added.



In the offing: Mobile App, auto-transfer from bank account

Avinash Thakre, Chairman of Tax and Tax Assessment Committee of NMC, told reporters on Friday evening that to improve tax recovery and make the process of payment easier, several steps were in the offing.

“We are planning to launch a mobile phone application. A tax-payer can download the application, check his tax payment record, and also pay the tax through payment gateways like BHIM, Paytm etc. This will do away with the complaints that people did not receive tax demands,” Thakre said.

Also, Thakre said, NMC was mulling over a proposal to float monthly auto-transfer of tax amount from bank account of property-owner to the account of NMC. “Monthly instalments of property tax demand for a financial year will help the slum-dwellers or those having smaller properties to pay the tax regularly. Of course, auto-transfer will be done with the consent of bank account holder,” he added.

NMC will also launch a toll-free number for the convenience of property-owners. An owner will have to just dial the toll-free number from his/her registered mobile number, and the SMS of tax demand amount will be sent to that number. Thakre said that discussion was on to send image of tax demand to the WhatsApp number of the property-owner.