Gujarat Plus - Gujarat on Web
Rediscover Gujrat .....Rediscover the Gujrati in You
New property tax bills in city Wednesday, October 10, 2001
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
AHMEDABAD: The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has begun issuing bills according its new property tax formula. Bills on this path-breaking formula -- developed by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation which is touted to reduce tax burden on commoners, increase tax-payer base of corporation and thereby its income -- has drawn a "good response" from the payers bringing more than Rs 2.4 lakh to the corporation's coffers.
These long-awaited property tax bills, that are now being issued only in areas under the west zone of AMC (that includes areas like C.G. Road, Navrangpura, Naranpura, Nava Vadaj) has been a contributing factor to the corporation's ongoing financial crisis. As the new formula was developed before the monsoon, the corporation could not call for its usual pre-monsoon advance property tax payment from the masses, causing a Rs 10-crore depreciation in its income.
Municipal commissioner K Kailashnathan said: "We have got 232 tax applications and spot payments worth Rs 2.46 lakh was received on Tuesday, 75 per cent of which was in cheques. We have set up five collection points, other than the west zone office in Osmanpura, at muster stations in Paldi, Navrangpura, Naranpura, Nava Vadaj and Bhavsar community hall where cheques are being accepted while receipts will be handed over a day later."
The corporation has set a target of issuing 10,000 property tax bills every month. After west the corporation will shift focus to north zone. "This is the first time that use of computers is being inter-woven with the tax department of AMC. Data entry for east, central and south zones will soon be complete and then we will issue property tax bills for these areas too," said deputy municipal commissioner of north zone, Utpal Padia, who is also the in-charge of information-technology in the corporation.
But, that's not the end of AMC's I-T dreams. The corporation wants to allow its payers to file property tax returns, not just from five centres (as is the case in west zone) but from any of its ward and zonal office that would be linked to the headquarters through lease-Net lines provided by Reliance.
Padia along with the municipal commissioner recently had visited Hyderabad to learn from the e-governance integrating government offices there. "We hope to have e-governance in place in all AMC's offices by March 2002," informed Kailashnathan.
But, despite all the hue and cry about issuance of new property tax bills the new formula will only bring down the corporation's income. Officials pointed out that as compared to last year's Rs 150-crore property tax collection, the new formula and the depreciated tax rates will rake in no more than Rs 125 crore.
"Admittedly our property tax collections will suffer but our tax-payer base is already expanding, due to the new scaled down rates. That apart, earlier our recovery was only 50 per cent our new people-friendly formula will ensure a near-total (at least 80 per cent) tax recovery," said Kailashnathan.
The commissioner's claim is further supported by the Rs 38 crore that the AMC recovered in settlement of pending property tax claims. Of the 32,455 pending property tax cases 29,504 have already been cleared with help of AMC's decision to waive the 18 percent penalty levied pending property tax payments that is being propagated and implemented through numerous Lok Durbars.
News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]