Mira Bhayandar: Saddled with a daunting task of mopping up property tax dues amounting more than Rs 80 crore in less than two months, till March 31, the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) has finally decided to act tough against defaulters.
Apart from sealing and auctioning properties, the civic administration will now register police cases against defaulters who failed to honour the cheques given towards payment of property tax.
Crime of cheque dishonouring
Dishonour of a cheque is a criminal offence under section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act-1881 which is punishable by both-imprisonment and fine. According to tax officials, property tax defaulters had issued a total of 501 cheques, collectively amounting Rs.1.40 crore- all were dishonoured because of insufficient funds in the bank accounts. After receiving notices around 400 defaulters cleared their dues (along with penalty and cheque bounce charges) by paying cash or using online modes. However, more than 100 people are yet to fall in-line. “We will wait for three days. If the dues are not cleared police cases will be filed for cheque dishonour” said a tax officer.
Despite being aware about having insufficient balance, the defaulters often issue cheques in order to pre-empt action like attachment of properties for non-payment. As per information sourced from the tax department, the target was set at Rs 190 crore for the financial year 2021-22. However, the MBMC managed to mop up just Rs 161 crore.
Against this year’s demand of around Rs.222 crore, the MBMC has so far managed to recover a little over Rs.141 crore from 2.74 lakh tax-payers till 9, February. The MBMC faces another dilemma of recovering at least Rs. 200 crore to keep itself qualified for receiving grants under the 15th finance commission. . The assessed number of properties in the twin-city is currently pegged at around 3,68,501 including 63,498 commercial and 3,05,003 residential units.
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