Property tax: Wrong assessment, ‘conniving’ employees main factors behind poor recovery

MC has collected Rs85 crore against targeted collection of Rs130 cr

Property tax: Wrong assessment, ‘conniving’ employees main factors behind poor recovery

Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 21

The Municipal Corporation top brass has lost no time in patting themselves on their backs for recovery of Rs 1 crore as part of arrears towards property tax from the company operating the general bus stand here recently.

Of the total unpaid amount of around Rs 9 crore, the MC was able to recover only Rs 1 crore. The MC authorities have conveniently chosen not to fix the responsibility of staff and officials entrusted with the task of assessment and recovery of taxes.

As per the data made available by the MC against the targeted collection of Rs 130 crore from property tax, the total collection till now is around Rs 85 crore (a shortfall of around 35 per cent).

On one hand, the civic administration continues to cry over lack of resources and funds for the execution of development works in the city and on the other, poor track record of recovery of taxes and user charges as well as the mess created by field staff (inspectors) in wrong assessment of property tax has been making a big dent in tax receipts of the MC.

“Rather than praising self over the collection of a fraction of the total arrears from the bus stand company, the MC authorities ought to introspect and take a realistic stand to haul up staff and officials for their failure to recover due tax on time and let the arrears mount,” says Gurdeep Singh Gosha, Youth Akali Dal president.

Sources in the MC disclosed that a recent inspection by the MC authorities into the assessment of property tax had led to startling revelations and big lapses on the part of field staff as the assessing officials had shown undue favour to tax payers by way of under-valuation of rental income and less area of commercial and industrial properties, overlooking actual rental income of property owners from their tenants. This has caused huge revenue losses to the MC.

To make matters worse, the assessed property tax was also not being recovered in an effective manner and a long rope was being given to defaulters, asserted sources, adding that the practice of drastically reducing tax liability by fudging the data and official records was another factor leading to poor recovery of tax.

Moreover, the MC field staff was not putting in efforts to recover property tax from government offices who had huge arrears, as there were no chances of making any ‘easy’ money for themselves, said the sources.

Tribune Shorts

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