In Bangalore, opposition demands roll back of property tax hike

A day after BM published the story titled, “Property tax revision cannot come into force,” opposition parties in the civic council have demanded the withdrawal of the enhancement of property tax with immediate effect since they say the officials and ruling party leaders have acted above the law.

Some BJP corporators expressed surprise to know that Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) does not have powers to enhance property tax. In fact, the commissioner was asked to explain why the ‘Karnataka Property Tax Board’ was not constituted to decide on the enhancement of property tax.

Manjunath Raju, BJP corporator and former chairperson for Taxation and Finance Standing Committee said, “There is a provision in the Karnataka Municipal Act that the property tax enhancement matter should be decided by the board, so the elected body cannot take a decision on the tax enhancement since it does not have such powers. It shows that the state government has failed to constitute the board.”

Raju said that according to KMC Act’s Sec 106, it was mandatory for any civic body to publish the notification in two local newspapers, but this had not been one. “Officials are not adhering to the KMC Act, meaning their move is illegal. If someone approaches court, then BBMP won’t be able to collect any money through the property tax,” he added.

Opposition party leader Padmanabha Reddy demanded withdrawal of the enhancement immediately. He said, “I informed Revenue Department officials two months ago that the civic body cannot decide on property tax hike. I had also informed that the necessary sections are being included in the act and rules are being framed.” He said neither did the BBMP, nor did the Urban Development Department officials initiated the formation of the constituting board.

Senior Congress corporator MK Gunashekhar tried to defend his party’s decision on enhancing tax, saying, “Though rules were framed by the state government, the board was not constituted, which means the BBMP can take a decision on its own.”

Mayor BN Manjunath Reddy also stood by his party saying the government, which had to constitute the board, has approved the move.

Tax collection from April 4

Meanwhile, BBMP commissioner G Kumar Naik said that the property tax collection drive would begin from Monday, April 4. He said, “After consulting with local residents, the property tax enhancement decision was taken. We have decided to hike taxes by 20 per cent for residential properties and 25 per cent for the commercial properties. Property owners can avail 5 per cent rebate if they pay annual tax before April 30.”

Credits Bangalore Mirror

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