Citizens who have defaulted on property tax beware. The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is all set to go hammer and tongs to collect arrears from the defaulters.
For, the financially weak BBMP, with loans amounting to around Rs. 3,000 crore and pending bills of Rs. 1,600 crore, is heavily dependent on property tax. To augment its collections, the civic body is now planning to launch a special drive to collect the pending tax from defaulters, especially those who own high value properties, in the city. This drive, sources said, would begin from Friday in all earnest.
According to sources in the BBMP’s revenue department, Commissioner M. Lakshminarayan has directed the officials on the field, including tax inspectors and revenue inspectors, to work towards a target.
They have been directed to first target major defaulters, mainly high value properties, issue notices and ensure that they pay the dues.
Apart from this, the BBMP will also take up verification of property tax paid by the property owners. As per the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976, the BBMP can take up verification of tax paid by 10 per cent of properties each year.
Confirming this, Mr. Lakshminarayan told The Hindu that in the previous years the BBMP did not seriously pursue collection of dues from defaulters by issuing notices. “We have started this year and hope to collect at least Rs. 800 crore dues from defaulters, which is pending at least from 2008-09.” He said that the BBMP’s average property tax collection had not crossed Rs. 1,300 crore. This, even though the BBMP’s target collection was over Rs. 2,000 crore. “With special drives to collect dues, we hope to cross Rs. 2,000 crore, thereby registering a 60 per cent growth in tax collection.”
He said that since the BBMP was seriously issuing notices, the defaulters could not claim to be unaware of how much they owe the civic body. The officials, he said, had been directed to submit a weekly report on the tax collected, dues recovered and properties covered to his office
The city’s 16 lakh properties had been mapped under GIS (geographical information system) and have been given a unique property Id.
The BBMP has employed several methods to collect dues from defaulters. To increase the tax collection, the BBMP took to beating drums in front of the properties of defaulters.
Though this yielded some result, the civic body seems to have now put it on the backburner.