Dear BBMP, please give us 10% rebate in property tax payments!

It’s that time of the year when you can start paying property tax for the next year. Now that the increase in tariff and other changes are settled, one can actually calculate how much property tax has to be paid and be done with it.

This year, there are changes in two respects :

  1. Change in tariff
  2. Change in zonal classifications

The first one is a regular hike, which had to be done after expiry of every blockperiod of fiveyears. But there is also a controversy of the block period to make it to threeyears, but the actual effect is coming after a period of eightyears and the owners have stood the benefit of paying oldtax from 2013-14 to 2015-16.

The second is an occasional change depending upon the development of different areas from lowto highor even vice-versa. Both are being exercised at once, which makes the new tax regime look like higher than the old tariff.

Higher rates for all zones – confusion

To make it worse, the BBMP notification says that “if an area has been classified from a higher zone to a lower zone, the property tax has to be paid as per the PREVIOUS HIGHER zone NEW tariff whereas, if the area has moved from a lower to higher zone, irrespective of the number of zones it has raised, the tax has to be paid as per ONLY ONE higher zone.”

The payment of tax for a higher and lower zonal movements have to be at par. It is unfair to collect the same tax from the properties that have moved to a lower zone. As it is, their property value has reduced, rents / revenue are hampered, but making one cough up the same tax is unethical.

Even after four days of the start of implementation, BBMP has come out with neither instructions regarding the usage of forms nor the mode of payments. And they are yet to supply the forms, on the pretext of ‘Encouraging Online Payments’. Many know how it works and what type of problems it creates.

Further, everyone may not have the facility to print the receipts as well as the returns submitted, in case you require it for any clarification, as soft copies cannot be viewed at BBMP offices. Indirectly, BBMP is mounting the burden of printing and giving documents under its seal.

One has to remember that, Bangalore is in India, which has notachieved a stage of uninterrupted power supplyyet. Many property owners are aged and computer illiterate. They even do not have plasticmoney facility. Hence physical payment and documentation is still necessary.

The site to pay tax not ready yet

BBMP has on its site put up a calculator for payment of tax for this year. It has also put-up new zonal classification list. However, there is no provision for multiple types of construction. Comparison of zones of the past and the present etc., etc. are missing and is non-compliantto user. It has to be further modified / improved.

As the duel hike is going to pinch the pocket to more than 50 % in majority of properties. As usual it is the financial crunch period as all types of loans have to be cleared, admissions and schooling expenses have to be met and with this additional extra burden, taxpayers may suffer a lot.

Hence, BBMP can consider granting 10 % rebate till June 2016 for loyal tax payers.

The BBMP should finalize these aspects well in advance, say right in January and not couple of days before the start of the financial year. It will give sufficient time even to the owners to pool-up resources and be prompt in paying taxes in time. By not doing that, BBMP is transforming the prompt people into defaulters.

Note: We will come up with a step-by-step guide to paying property tax, once BBMP comes out with the clarifications / instructions / forms.

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About D R Prakash 9 Articles
D R Prakash is the founder-president of the Osborne Road Area Residents Welfare Association.

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