The Tax Assessment and Collection department of the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) has achieved property tax collection of around 80 per cent even though it is still about 10 days to go for the current financial year to lapse. The department has stepped up all efforts to ensure the remaining 20 per cent tax collection in the 10 days period before March 31.
Harischandra More, the Deputy Municipal Commissioner in-charge of the department, informed Thane Plus that his men have collected assessment taxes to the tune of Rs 132 crore till the evening of March 19. The sum is less than 80 per cent of the target of around Rs 170 crore given to the department to meet in the current financial year.
From the targetted amount, the department has to collect Rs 120 crore by way of property tax on the roughly 1.43 lakh taxable properties for the current financial year alone. The balance of Rs 50 crore is the due outstanding tax arrears of the previous years. More claimed that the performance of the department was good so far despite the fact that the year witnessed unprecedented global and national economic recession and there are no signs of immediate recovery. The year was the worst one for the local business community as well as the common working class in the last several decades.
Despite the odds, the Tax Assessment and Collection officers and men took up the challenge since October last year. The civic administration nominated one Deputy Municipal Commissioner each in each of the nine ward councils since late last year to boost up property tax collection. The officers have been given the required number of staff to achieve their goals.
Staffers from non essential departments have been deputed to assist the taxmen in collecting the tax arrears. This has led to an almost lull in the functioning of the non essential civic departments. The deputed staffers are working since early morning till late at night. The drive is continuing on Sundays and holidays as well.
The corporation also pursued carrot and stick policy to achieve its aims. The civic administration offered to provide insurance cover of up to Rs 25,000 for individuals and their wives as well as two children who cleared up their property tax dues before February 28.
The TMC also resorted to the use of force against defaulters. Thousands of defaulting properties have been sealed and taken into civic possession so far. The latest in this series is the action of sealing of 100 commercial galas belonging to the Hiranandani Estate at Ghodbunder Road on Thursday. The break up of the collected property tax figures at the ward council level is not yet available with the department but there are claims that almost all the councils have posted tax collection of above 70 per cent so far. The Deputy Municipal Commissioner is hopeful that his department will finish the year with a record tax collection.