PMC Losing Rs 150 Cr Property Tax Annually For Lack Of Draftsmen To Measure Building Plans

(Pune Mirror, October 20, 2010)
Can the property tax collection of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) get a boost just by inducting some draftsmen on staff? Yes, if one goes by the proposal by some corporators. A proposal before the standing committee of PMC states the civic body needs more draftsmen to increase the revenue.
Corporators Sanjay Nande and Shrikant Pujari have put forth this proposal. According to them, “The city is witnessing an explosion in constructions. The tax department is responsible for taxing them, so collection will see a boom.”
Property tax is levied in accordance with the area of the building. Since draftsperson can measure the area correctly, they are needed in the tax department. However, most of the draftsmen are currently in the building department, they said. Hence, they have recommended some draftsmen be hired.
The PMC has various pending tax complaints. The civic body has to recover Rs 51 crores from 210 cases of property tax. The standing committee has also approved a committee headed by retired High Court judge R M Bapat for this purpose.
Speaking to Mirror, Nande said, “The tax department has already asked for two draftsmen to be recruited for the assessment. There are not enough technically sound persons in the department.
Builders usually show the partially completed buildings which are never assessed again. They escape the tax net easily. Hence, if a draftsman is in the department, he can calculate how much tax the PMC can collect simply by studying the plan.”
The PMC had collected property tax of Rs 274.44 crore against the estimated amount of Rs 482.82 crore in 2009-2010. During the preparation of the budget this year, the standing committee had claimed that 45,000 properties do not fell in the tax net, eroding revenue by Rs 150 crore.
Vilas Kanade said, “I know about such a proposal but do not know the exact details of it. We have started charging tax on one lakh properties, which is the highest number of properties in the history of the PMC. However, some properties escape because of lack of manpower.”
The Current System
The PMC levies property tax on buildings in three ways. First, the building department sends occupation certificate to the tax department, depending on which tax is levied. Some residents approach the PMC and declare their properties voluntarily. The third way is the manual scrutiny of the building in PMC limits.
Explaining the reasons of less taxing, Kanade said, “Sometimes, the building is ready but only two or three families are moved in. The properties can’t be taxed until they are occupied totally. Sometimes, the buildings are used rarely and other times the completion certificate does not come in time.”
However, lack of manpower does not allow the department to scrutinise all properties. According to Kanade, there are no special teams to scrutinise such properties and has to be carried out by the employees, who are not experts.

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