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Mobile cos fail to pay property tax on towers, SDMC sends notice
December, 12th 2012

Prominent telecom companies like AirtelBSE 0.14 %, MTNLBSE -1.76 %, Reliance and Vodafone have not paid property tax for mobile towers erected on buildings, prompting South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) today to issue notices to them.

With the initiation of such action, SDMC is aiming to bring all the 2,000 existing cell towers to the tax net.

SDMC also issued notices to Aircel, Tata Indicom Teleservices, Viom, Idea, Tower Vision, Global Group Enterprises and Indus Towers in connection with the non-payment of property tax.

In a statement, SDMC said none of these companies "filed any self assessment property tax return or deposited appropriate property tax" for the towers installed by them from time to time.

"Notices have been issued and sent to them calling upon them to appear before the assessing authority with relevant documents and show cause as to why assessment should not be made by corporation," an SDMC spokesperson said.

According to SDMC, the departmental provisions of property tax provides for bringing the mobile towers under the tax net and the word tower means TV tower, cable tower, telecom tower or any other tower erected on the surface on the top of any other open space of a building.

"As per sub-section (2) of Section 120 of the DMC Act, if any land has been let to a tenant for a term exceeding one year and such tenant has built upon such land, the property tax assessed in respect of such land and the building erected thereon shall be payable by such tenant, whether the land and the building are in the occupation of such tenant or a sub-tenant of such tenant.

"Since the permission for installation of 'Mobile Cell Towers' is granted for more than one year, property tax for the same is payable by the allottees/licensees," the notice said.

It said property tax is leviable and payable in respect of each of such structures, as per provisions of DMC Act, irrespective of the fact that the same were installed with or without the permission of the competent authority, and payment of the same does not mean conversion of an illegal structure into legal one.

"Non-filing of the property tax returns and non-deposit of the appropriate property tax within the due time amounts to willful default and attracts action for recovery of dues together with penalty and interest, besides prosecution action, as per provisions of the DMC Act," it said.

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