BBMP Means Business With Intensified Property Tax Collection Drive
Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) accomplished a herculean task by stretching manpower resources to collect property tax to the tune of Rs 47.90 crore for 2015-16 on Wednesday, 27 May.
Commercial establishments in the garden city of Bangalore have boomed with real estate reaching the number one position in the country according to expert rankings for 2015. Though residential properties experience reduced demand across the country, new office spaces have shown the highest levels in Bangalore.
Commercial properties include the high profile tech parks that have become synonymous with the city ever since the launch of the information software industry, the highest earning industry across the country.Multinational companies are flourishing within the walls of the tech parks that are now expanding rapidly across the city with another scheduled in the vicinity of Kempegowda International Airport in Devanahalli.
Besides the tech parks, the fashionable malls are most happening places and owe a lot in the form of property tax. Phoenix Mall had to pay Rs. 1.78 crore and that is half the amount payable for 2015-16. The Mahadevapura area alone yielded Rs. 26 crores as part of the massive collection drive. The reason for the hurry was because May 31 is the last date for payment of property tax with 5% rebate. Early birds have traditionally benefitted by availing discounts and the hefty savings on vast property amounts can well be imagined.
Property tax collection has proved to be an enduring headache for BBMP. In many cases the properties are undervalued in the self assessment scheme. A huge task is to ascertain if the property dimensions tally with what was declared by the owners. Thus the team of officials needs to carry out a physical verification of the properties that would be a mammoth task indeed. If not verified, losses to the BBMP would run into many crores.
Several cases have resulted in seizure of properties when property tax was not paid after several notices. Yet many establishments continue to avoid tax payments for years to the tune of crores and how that happens is a complete mystery, perhaps a result of corruption.
BBMP certainly has its hands full with a public that is constantly demanding more and being mired in controversies and allegations has proved to be difficult business.Pressing urban problems are weighing down heavily especially with the approaching monsoons when official work concerning property becomes so much more difficult.
Among the big fish that paid hefty property taxes are Bagmane Tech Park that paid up Rs. 6.3 crores.Salarpuria Marathalli paid Rs. 2 crores while RMZ paid Rs. 6.28 crores. GE India Technology Centre paid Rs. 1.26 crore.
The Brigade Metropolis payment was Rs. 5.62 lakhs while Shantiniketan paid Rs. 39 lakhs. Zuri Hotel paid Rs. 60.82 lakhs while Prestige Tech Park paid Rs. 12 lakhs. Other parties like Brand Factory-Marathalli paid Rs 43.54 lakhs while Tesco HSC paid Rs 77 lakhs.
While BBMP has undertaken a mighty effort through the property tax collection drive, dedicated officers need to frame stricter rules and policies so that evasion is checked or at least minimized.