As the city shakes off the pandemic-triggered lull, property tax collections of the BMC are up 25% compared to last year.
Collection of property tax, currently one of the biggest sources of revenue for the BMC, has touched Rs 4,690.5 crore so far with 9 more days to go for the financial year. Last year around the same time, the BMC had received Rs 3,733 crore.
Officials said last year, the BMC was able to collect only Rs 5,090 crore till the end of the financial year (see box). Around this time, the city was in the grip of the deadly second wave. This year they are hoping to surpass the figure by a large margin as the Covid situation has eased.
Assistant Municipal Commissioner Vishwas Mote, in-charge of the property tax department, tempered expectations, saying there are challenges as Covid has hit many financially. “However, we are trying our best to ensure that tax targets are met by the end of the month,” he said.
During the 2021-22 civic budget, the BMC commissioner had announced that they had set a target of collecting tax worth Rs 5,400 crore in the current financial year.
Civic officials said the highest percentage of property tax collection compared to targets have been achieved so far by A ward (86%) that includes parts of Colaba, Cuffe Parade, Nariman Point, C ward (85%) including Bhuleshwar, Kalbadevi, F-South ward (89%) that boasts of parts of Parel, G-North (83%) that has Dharavi, Dadar, and R-Central and R-North (both over 90%) including parts of Borivli and Dahisar.
In the BMC budget of 2022-23 announced last month, no new taxes were announced — likely in a hat tip to the fact that it is election year — but the civic body proposed a provision for imposition of penalty on unauthorised construction that will be twice the amount of property tax. This comes at a time when the BMC has had to forgo Rs 462 crore due to the property tax waiver for homes below 500 sqft.
Former opposition party leader in the BMC Ravi Raja alleged that the BMC was unable to meet its tax targets earlier because several prominent builders were given concessions in the form of leeway for not paying their dues on time.
“There are builders who have pending dues to the tune of almost Rs 1,500 crore and the BMC is not pursuing them to pay on time. This is not acceptable at a time when the state has reduced premiums for construction by 50%. On the other hand, the BMC cracks down on standalone establishments immediately if they default.”