The Greater Chennai Corporation(GCC) hopes to collect around `1,100 crore a year as property tax after the hike, compared to the `670 crore it collected annually over the last ten years.
From 11 lakh houses in the city including core and added areas, the corporation’s property tax target used to be around `850 crore a year, of which it collected around `670 crore. Now the annual target will be `1,500 crore of which the corporation expects to collect `1,100 crore.
Officials said only 70% of the people pay the taxes on time. At present, the civic body has property tax arrears of around `300 crore. The corporation’s net annual revenue average around `2,100 crore over the last few years. This will now go up.
Deputy commissioner for Revenue and Finance Vishu Mahajan said the tax hike will ease the existing liabilities such as loans and pending payments, which amount to more than `3,500 crore.
“It will also bridge the revenue defi cit so outside sources such as grants can be used for building capital assets,” he said. The corporation collects tax from 5,84,334 properties in core areas — Tondiarpet, Royapuram, Thiru Vi Ka Nagar, Anna Nagar, Teynampet, Kodambakkam and Adyar.
Among them, 62% of the houses (3,64,643) are less than 1,200 sqft, which will now pay an annual property tax ranging from `500 to `2,000. Officials said it may not impact the lower income groups much as it is the commercial industries and houses more than 1,800 sqft that face a bigger hike.
KR Shanmugam, professor and director of Madras School of Economics, said the tax rise is the right move. “We cannot keep low taxes and also provide quality services. Revenue is important for the local bodies. People may have a problem accepting a 150% hike as we have just come out of the pandemic,” he said.
Harsha Koda, co-founder of the Federation of OMR Residents Associations, said, by differentiating taxes, the government has acknowledged that there is a difference in the infrastructure & facilities that the core city enjoys and the areas added lack. “Already the price of diesel, petrol, and cooking gas has risen. Ordinary people will now struggle to pay higher tax and rent, ” said S Kumara Raja, President, Annai Indira Nagar Residents Welfare Association, Velachery.