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KMC looks to streamline guidelines to assess property tax

Kolkata: The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) will bring about simplification in the guidelines for determining property tax through unit area assessment (UAA) so that the assessee faces no difficulty in paying tax.
Responding to a query on the status of property tax collection after UAA's introduction from April 2017 at the monthly session of KMC on Monday, Mayor Sovan Chatterjee admitted that collection of property tax through UAA has not been up to the mark and the civic body is also ready to make procedural changes in the process if needed.
It may be mentioned that till date, as per estimates of KMC, out of 7.5 lakh people in the city, only 55,000 people have registered themselves for paying property tax under UAA.
The total tax collected by the civic body till December 2017 stands at Rs 653.50 crore and collection from property tax stands at Rs 347.67 crore.
"We are assuring people that the capping will remain the same for an assessee. For example, if it is found that the tax under UAA for an assessee has gone up by 20 percent or gone down by 20 percent, whatever may be the case, it will remain the same," Chatterjee said. It has been learnt that due to complexity in the language, assessees are confused of this capping factor.
There are multiplicative factors, such as location of a building, its age etc., that need to be simplified to attract house owners to accept the new system.
Congress councillor Prakash Upadhyay suggested that the civic body should act tough like some other municipalities in this regard, to make people pay property tax under UAA. However, Chatterjee made it clear that KMC is against taking such a stand.
"We will not intimidate anybody by taking stringent measures in case he/she is a defaulter. We are following the normal course of sending notices to every household regarding their pending tax and at the same time, working upon simplification of the method. It is a new method and it takes time to have things in place under a new system," he added.
The Mayor also pointed out poor collection of tax in areas under Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) and said that the civic body is holding meetings with higher officials of KoPT to streamline the tax collection process.
The KMC assessment department is trying to bring out an amended system, that will simplify the assessment of this tax by the month of February and is also holding discussions with leading realty group Credai Bengal.

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