The proposal to introduce the new system will be placed before the meeting of the Mayor in Council members which is chaired by the mayor Sovan Chatterjee and subsequently, it will be placed before the councillors for ratification.
The system is likely to augment KMC’s revenue collection along with streamlining the revenue department, leading to ironing out of corruption in the department. Property owners will be able to calculate the tax and pay the money online. The Mayor had recently said the KMC would introduce the system as it would reduce harassment of property tax payers.
Under UAA, property tax will be calculated on the basis of the location of the building, its distance from the local market, bus stand, Metro station, width of the road in front etc. The infrastructure of the area will also be considered to calculate property tax. The property owners will be able to calculate the property tax and deposit the money. The general revaluation (GR) will be done once in five years.
The proposal to replace the age old system of calculating property tax by UAA was taken when Alapan Bandopadhyay was the Commissioner of KMC over a decade ago. A committee was set up to study the KMC’s system of collecting property tax.
The KMC had sent its teams comprising senior officials of the Revenue department to Bangalore and Hyderabad where property tax is determined by unit area assessment system. But the Left Front did not implement the system fearing loss of support base. They thought that the system would enhance property tax, resulting in the erosion of the party’s vote bank in the city.
The KMC does not have a clear cut method of assessing property tax. The general revaluation is done once in six years. It is a convention that the property tax of non tenanted buildings where no addition or alteration has taken place gets enhanced by 10 per cent every six years.
But in case of tenanted buildings and commercial establishments the method of fair rent is followed to calculate property tax. In case of houses which are let out to hold social functions like marriage, the KMC calculates the tax assuming that the area has been let out for 120 days in a year. But apart from marriages, various other functions including club meetings are held in such premises.
This affects KMC’s coffer badly. In many commercial establishments and houses let out for marriage ceremonies, only a paltry sum is showed in the receipt and the KMC calculates property tax on the basis of this amount losing revenue to the tune of crore of rupees.
As there is no definite system, KMC assessment inspectors take the liberty and the property tax goes up in premises where the owners refuse to give bribes. As a result, it has often been found that property tax of two adjacent flats having same area but the facilities vary.