Mumbai: BMC to take action against property tax defaulters as dues mount to Rs 9,947 crore

Asia’s richest civic body i.e. BMC is facing a shortfall in its revenue, is yet to recover dues of Rs 9,947 crore in property tax, pending for years. The defaulters include commercial and residential property owners. The civic body has now decided to crack the whip on these defaulters and a plan is being worked out to collect the unpaid amount, said a civic official.

The prominent defaulters include real estate developers, corporate houses, major housing societies and even sports/recreation clubs. According to information, the pending property tax includes Rs 4,854 crore, which is not disputed by defaulters; and Rs 5,093 crore, which has been challenged by the property owners in courts, reported Hindustan Times.

BMC has identified major defaulters and have prepared a list of 100 top defaulters, who have not disputed the amount, as recovery from them would be easier. Civic officials handling the issue said these defaulters will face strict action, including sealing of their properties if they fail to pay the outstanding dues.

However, no action for recovery can be initiated for the recovery of the disputed amount (Rs 5,093 crore) since those matters are in courts.

“Some of these major defaulters have not paid their dues for more than a decade. Some of the dues are outstanding since 1993 and are being disputed. Defaulters have also moved courts, challenging the tax amount,” said an official.

Devidas Kshirsagar, assistant municipal commissioner (Assessment and Collection Department) of the BMC, said, “The overall amount of unpaid taxes is huge. More than 50% of the outstanding amount is disputed by the defaulters. We are currently focusing on the recoverable taxes that are undisputed and are following up on the issue of disputed amounts too. Action is being initiated against the defaulters and the targeted amount for this fiscal year will be successfully achieved.”

Property tax is the second highest revenue source of the civic body, after the development charges that are recovered from the real estate sector.

Godfrey Pimenta, founder of Watchdog Foundation, said, “The BMC has given unwanted leeway to the defaulters because of which the amount has increased. There is no action initiated against top defaulters and they are given more time. There is no limit for keeping the dues pending since some dues are decade-old. There needs to be proper mechanism for collection of taxes.”

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