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Tax department launches web portal for exchange of information
November, 26th 2019

Following the announcement last week by Municipal Administration Minister S.P. Velumani to withhold the hike in property tax, the Chennai Corporation is finding it difficult to collect the taxes.

Many residents say they were not permitted to pay property tax as per old rates, even after the announcement was made by the State government.

N. Ramalingam, a resident of the Ambattur zone, said, “The new rate was exorbitant and I couldn’t pay. After the government’s announcement, I tried to pay the tax as per the old rates two days ago. But I was not permitted to pay it.”

A resident of K.K. Nagar said officials refused to receive property tax payment of as per old rate, claiming they did receive the government order. But officials insist that the government order has been issued.

Meanwhile, representatives of residents’ welfare associations on Sunday organised meetings on various aspects of property tax and demanded that officials accept payments as per old rates.

“The decision to withhold revision in property tax, following complaints that the revision is steep, is welcome. But the committee that will review must take the views of the residents’ associations before making recommendations or arriving at a formula,” said V.S. Jayaraman of Motilal Street Residents’ Welfare Association.

Civic officials have told the government that till the committee comes out with its recommendations on the hike, property holders can pay the tax that prevailed in 2017-18, and those who have paid the tax as per the new rates can get the amount adjusted subsequently.

Former councillor P.V. Tamil Selvan said the refusal of Corporation officials to receive payment of property tax as per old rates affected many residents. “Several residents have been asked to make payments to Metrowater by this month-end. The water tax should also be revised as it is based on the property tax,” he demanded.

“The State government should refund the amount to residents who have already paid the property tax,” said Harbour MLA P.K. Sekar Babu. “The announcement to withhold revision has been made in view of local body elections. After the polls, the government can increase the tax. Tax payers need clarity regarding this issue,” he said.

‘A complete farce’
Rama Rao, from Lakshmi Nagar, Nanganallur, said the property tax revision carried out by the Corporation was a complete farce, with revisions for newly-added Corporation areas undertaken without any rationale.

For several areas under the municipalities of Alandur, Ambattur and Valasaravakkam, property taxes were revised regularly every five years — in 1998, 2003 and 2008. However, when these areas were merged with the Corporation in 2011, the civic body should have revised the property tax from 2013, as the residents were already paying a higher property tax.

Instead of considering the revision from 2013, the civic officials calculated it from 2008, leading to exorbitant rates. Mr. Rao rued that the property tax fixed for the merged areas of Madhavaram, Ambattur, Perungudi and Sholinganallur was higher when compared to the revised rate for residents living in the city.

He compared the tax in Nanganallur, ?2.46 per sq ft, to the tax in several central parts of the city, like Mylapore and Alwarpet, where it is less than ?2 per sq ft.

Asked about the confusion over the payment of tax, Corporation officials said after a change in the system in a few weeks, residents would be able to pay property tax at the old rates.

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