Mumbai: The BMC on Wednesday invited a tender to appoint a professional agency which will scour the documents related to the properties which will be auctioned. To recover tax from defaulters, the civic body has attached 2,875 properties in the last five years. Of them, 67 properties will be going under the hammer.
The agency will be responsible for the tedious task of fetching documents of these properties from the state's revenue department. “These documents are to confirm the ownership title and also to verify that the ownership details tally with civic records. Many of these properties may have been sold multiple times,” said the civic official from the Assessor and Collection Department.
67 commercial properties–which will be auctioned
Explaining it further, the official said that the 67 commercial properties–which will be auctioned– might have multiple units, with individual owners and a sale history of their own. “Since the BMC doesn't have the manpower to carry out a search, we are appointing an expert agency,” it was added.
Property tax, which accounts for 24% of revenue, is the BMC's highest source of income. According to the officials, tax dues of around Rs16,000 crore are pending due to disputes and litigation. After facing a severe cash crunch during Covid, the BMC started cracking down on property tax defaulters.
Finally, the civic body sends property tax bills
The BMC issues property tax bills in April and October. But they were not sent to taxpayers since the decision on tax hike was delayed.
According to the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, the rate of property tax is revised after every five years. The last property tax hike was implemented in 2015, so the next revision was due in 2020. The rates were not increased during two years of Covid.
State government directs the BMC not to increase the tax
As the civic elections are upcoming, the state government has directed the BMC not to increase the tax for yet another year.
“We couldn't send property tax bills till now because we were not clear about the tax revision. As the picture is now clear, we have started sending bills for the current fiscal,” said the official.
The BMC has collected Rs947 crore as property tax between April 1 and Oct 31, which is mostly arrears of the previous year.