After an uproar by the citizens, Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal on Saturday ensured that there was no rise in property tax. The actual property tax bills will be raised, mentioning only the payable amount, which will be equal to the amount that was payable in 2022-23.
BMC's hike in property tax upset citizens
The BMC has issued provisional 2023-24 property tax bills with a 15-20% hike as per the five-year rule. This has upset citizens and former corporators who alleged that the civic body is placing an additional financial burden on taxpayers. Chahal immediately issued a statement stating, "In light of the Supreme Court’s recent order with respect to property taxation and consequent legal opinion obtained by the property tax department, BMC, the terms 'bill payable' and 'bill amount' were used on the BMC website, which has created a certain amount of confusion in the minds of taxpayer citizens in general and many stakeholders in particular."
He further added that, "In order to avoid any confusion in the minds of taxpayers, the actual property tax bills shall be raised mentioning only the payable amount. This amount shall be exactly equal to the amount payable for the financial year 2022-23, thereby ensuring no property tax increase in the current financial year for all taxpayers."
Decision put on hold after public outcry
As per the BMC Act, property tax is revised every five years. The last revision was in 2015 and was due in 2020 but was postponed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. In March of this year, the Apex court rejected a review petition filed by the BMC challenging a high court order in 2019 that set aside certain rules framed for retrospective tax assessment. The complication delayed the property tax bills being sent to owners.
Meanwhile, the civic authorities have started the process of revising the rates in force from April 1, 2023, to March 31, 2025. However, the decision had to be put on hold due to the upcoming elections next year, said the civic sources.