Property taxpayers have been taken for a ride once again. The Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) has failed to distribute the property tax bills by April end. The chances of distributing the bills by May end too is bleak. It will not only inconvenience property owners but will also deprive the cash-strapped civic body of much-needed revenue.
According to the norms set by the NMC last year, taxpayers were supposed to get bills by April end and avail rebate of 4% by paying total annual tax or 2% by paying half of the total amount on or before May 31. Now, the rebate cannot be availed if the bills cannot be distributed before May 31.
The norms also make it mandatory for the NMC to recover 2% interest per month for non-payment of property tax by June 30. NMC sources told TOI bills are likely to be distributed in June. There is every possibility that taxpayers may have to pay for NMC's mistake.
The NMC had launched the six-monthly property tax system in the last fiscal. Citing teething problems, the NMC failed to ensure its implementation and fixed the payment schedule for only one year. Right from municipal commissioner Shyam Wardhane to office bearers, including the then standing committee chairman Avinash Thakre and chairman of tax consultative committee Girish Deshmukh, all said that the system would be in schedule from 2014-15.
"Property tax rates are unchanged in this fiscal. Officials were supposed to just check the payments received in 2013-14 and print the bills followed and then distribute it. Checking and updating the data is not complete till date," NMC sources told TOI.
The sources said NMC could have got some money in its coffers had it implemented six-monthly property tax system. "The Pune Municipal Corporation is taking advantage of the system by ensuring distribution of bills by April end every year. An NMC team visited Pune last year and claimed to follow the system but nothing has happened," the sources said.
Additional deputy municipal commissioner Pramod Bhusari and tax assessor Shashikant Hastak were not available for comments.
Deshmukh told TOI that the process will be expedited in the coming days. "I could not hold review meetings due to the election code of conduct," he said.
Sources said the administration has not been serious about the six-monthly property tax system since the transfer of additional deputy municipal commissioner Ravindra Kumbhare. "The system was prepared and launched by Kumbhare to facilitate good services to the taxpayers and increase the NMC's revenue," the sources said.