In perhaps the highest relief extended to all types of properties in the city, GHMC said it is ready to waive about Rs 800 crore interest on property tax arrears in order to make up for the severe financial losses it suffered during the two months of lockdown.
As part of its ‘one-time amnesty’ scheme, the standing committee of GHMC has approved the latest proposal to provide relief of 80% to taxpayers on pending interest on tax arrears (Rs 1,017 crore) till the last financial year (2019-20). The proposal has been sent to the government for approval. GHMC is also yet to get its tax arrears of Rs 1,477 crore.
It may be recalled that GHMC had come up with an early-bird scheme (EBS) last month providing 5% rebate on payment of current year’s (2020-21) tax dues for the whole year. However, its EBS bait did not get the expected response from taxpayers.
GHMC commissioner DS Lokesh Kumar said the standing committee discussed the proposal in detail and sent it to the government. “The state government will take a final call on the waiver,” Lokesh told TOI.
Officials said there have been instances before where GHMC had extended tax reliefs to property owners but never before has it offered 80% relief to recover its tax arrears.
Mayor Bonthu Rammohan said the civic body had been facing severe financial crisis due to poor revenues. While GHMC set a target of Rs 1,800 crore revenue from property tax, it collected only Rs 1,400 crore. The deficit is Rs 400 crore.
He said of the total 16.39 lakh property taxpayers in 2019-20, only 9.89 lakh have cleared their dues. “The rest are yet to clear the taxes which is about Rs 2,494 crore — Rs 1,477 crore tax arrears and Rs 1,017 crore interest on arrears. As per our proposal, these taxpayers can pay with our new proposal,” Rammohan explained.
The standing committee, in its note to the government while seeking nod for its approval, said the corporation was not in a financially sound position. “We are facing hardships to meet the expenditure of employees’ salaries and carry out developmental works,” the committee said.
Meanwhile, the standing committee has decided to call for reconstructing 201 bus shelters under four packages. Similarly, decisions have been taken to extend the contract of 221 junctions along with setting up new signals at 155 junctions, extension of GHMC call centre for three more years and execute developmental work in LB Nagar.
With the present standing committee term having expired on Thursday, a notification for electing the new body will be released on Friday. Polling for election of 15 standing committee members will be held on June 29. All the corporators are voters who will elect the new members.