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Pay tax, get notice too
November, 17th 2009

You paid property tax on time. You even raced to take advantage of the 5% rebate. Yet, has the BBMP slapped a notice on you? Strange but true. And you are not the only one.

In its drive to catch errant taxpayers for the previous block period (2008-09), the Palike has surprisingly been snaring a few regulars. This has shocked both residential and commercial property owners.

Venkatesh, staying in an apartment on Sarjapur Road who promptly paid tax for both block periods within the rebate period, was shocked when he received the notice. It said the BBMP is yet to receive tax on his property for the previous year.

There was a bigger shock in store for him. When he checked with the apartment association, almost all 58 residents had been slapped with similar notices.

Saifee Erinpurwala, a trader on S P Road, is rather annoyed with the notice that landed at his office on November 10. Quite natural for one who paid his tax of Rs 34,000 and even availed 5% rebate. "I paid tax through our association and even got a receipt from BBMP. Is there no scrutiny before notices are sent?'' he asks.

He's joined by many members of the Karnataka Hardware and Elite Merchants' Association. "To help BBMP, the association took the initiative to collect around 400 forms from our members to submit tax on time. We also got receipts from the Palike. Yet, it's unfortunate that most of us have been given notices. Worse, there's nobody to help clarify our queries at the offices'' explains association president B K Goyal.

"Many people have been calling us to ask about it. Unfortunately, we don't have the answers. Hope the BBMP clarifies at the earliest and does not make us go to its office for a clarification. For them, tax collection is work. But why tax us especially when it's not our fault,'' says FKCCI vice-president Sreenivasamurthy.

2 LAKH NOTICES IN 10 DAYS

BBMP has sent nearly 2 lakh notices over the past 10 days. By rough estimate, at least 5% are to persons who have already paid tax. May 30, 2009, was the last date to pay the second half instalment without penalty for 2008-09. Technically, the BBMP has powers to issue notices from September. However, the process was delayed till the compilation was complete. But the Palike seems to have hit the wrong targets in its zeal!

YES, IT'S A MISTAKE: BBMP

BBMP revenue officials, who confirmed the mistakes had indeed happened, said it could be in cases where people paid tax on the cut-off date or later. "We admit it's a mistake but you needn't panic if you have the receipt. You must produce it and ignore the notice,'' a BBMP official said.

SHOCKING NUMBERS

If the 2 lakh notices over the past 10 days aren't shocking enough, there's more. According to BBMP records, only 7.63 lakh property owners of the overall 20 lakh properties in Bangalore have paid tax for 2008-09. This includes 2.6 lakh owners in core areas which have 6.9 lakh properties. A majority of residential property owners in the newly added areas are yet to enter the tax bracket for the previous block period. All this when the November 30 deadline for payment of second-half instalment for the current block period is not too far away.

 
 
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