In an announcement by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) regarding the buildings getting Occupation Certificates (OCs) from this month, their flats owner will be issued personalised property tax bills. Also an ‘early bird’ discount was announced by the BMC for those who pay the tax promptly, under the new property tax system.
According to a senior BMC official, the flat owners in the buildings getting OCs this month will have to pay the individual property tax bills. But the unsold flats and the common area’s property tax would have to be paid by the builder. According to the current scenario, the civic body dispatches common property tax bills to the housing society, which then further collects the dues from the individual flat owners and pays back to the BMC.
The official further added that the current system poses a problem regarding the failure of the payment. When a member or members fails to pay the property tax, then all the other members are liable to pay the penalty.
There were times, when BMC have moved to the court against the societies whose members have not made the payment, making the entire society account as a defaulter. In some cases, the BMC’s revenue got locked in the litigation as cases go on for years.
According to Devidas Kshirsagar, assessor and collector (in-charge) of BMC, some of the societies decided to use the reserve fund for paying up to avoid the hassle. But this later led to the shifting of the burden on the other members/occupants who pay their taxes diligently. But as of now, it seems that the personalised property tax billing system is going to eradicate the problem.
This practise was in the play a few years back, when the BMC allowed those flat owners to pay the bills individually, who had opted for it. Such of these flat owners needs to file an application with the civic body and take an NOC from their housing society.
Information provided by the BMC revealed that currently there are 28 Lakh flat owners located in 2.75 Lakh buildings in the city paying property tax. At present, 1.42 Lakh property holders, out of this 28 Lakh flat owners are paying property bills individually.
According to Dharmin Sampat, Property expert advocate, this step by the BMC must be welcomed as it will provide immense help to those who pay the tax promptly. Sampat, also the honorary secretary of Co-operative Societies Residents, Users and Welfare Association, said the early bird payment will prove to be an innovative scheme and will attract the tax payers to make the prompt payments.
Sunil Mantri, A developer and former president of National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO), said that individual property tax collection is a beneficial scheme for everyone, whether it be the BMC, the developer or a flat owner. He further added that this new system will provide a faster payment of the taxes, generating higher revenue for the BMC. Also giving mental and personal satisfaction to the property owner.
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