Due to ‘teething-problem’ in online system, tax collection in Bangalore dips

BENGALURU : Even as citizens are complaining of problems in the newly implemented online property tax payment module, BBMP’s taxation and finance committee chairman M Shivaraju on Tuesday said these were teething troubles and they’d be fixed soon. “This is the first time we’re shifting to a new online payment and there are bound to be some glitches. These will be fixed,” he said.

As of Tuesday morning, BBMP had collected about Rs 360 crore in property tax. However, Shivaraju admitted that last year, the collection had reached Rs 500 crore by April-end. “As we shifted to the online mode this year, payments have been slow but that is only to be expected,” he said.

He defended the emphasis on online payment. “We’re known as the IT capital and were still following the manual payment method. In foreign countries, property taxes can be paid on your mobile phone through apps. We’re still following decades-old systems,” he said.

He added that the online mode would reduce corruption drastically. “During raids last year, we discovered that many cheques issued by property owners continued to remain on the officers’ desks. We recovered cheques worth close to Rs 10 lakh and DDs from a revenue inspector’s desk. Perhaps, this is also why the online system is facing so much criticism: it has stopped the flow of money under the table,” he said.

Shivaraju was speaking on the sidelines of a press conference called to counter MLA Padmanabh Reddy’s statements complaining of problems in the online payment. Reddy claimed that the tax he paid this year for properties belonging to him and his wife Suvarna in Kammanahalli were much lower compared to taxes paid last year.

Suvarna Reddy’s property tax last year for a site measuring 2,700 sqft of built-up area was Rs 21,065 in 2015-16. This year, the tax paid was only Rs 8121. Padmanabh Reddy’s property tax for a site 2,530 sqft in Kammanahalli was Rs 26,830 last year whereas this year it was just Rs 1788.

Shivaraju said Reddy had made mistakes in the declaration. “Last year, Suvarana Padmanabh Reddy had declared that a part of her site was commercial. However, this year it is a completely residential site. Padmanabh Reddy’s site was declared as a vacant site this year, although as of last year’s documents, he had a property on that site. Before he makes allegations, perhaps he needs to check his math and his property declarations first,” Shivaraju said.

Credits ET Realty

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