As per the property tax department, of 6,84,750 property owners, only 2,75,480 have paid tax of Rs108.77 crore for the last financial year, while 4.09 lakh residential and commercial property owners haven’t paid their dues of Rs125.19 crore.
The cumulative tax dues, excluding the current year’s property tax demand, have now crossed Rs679.04 crore from 4,36,681 property owners.
The department’s data reveals that the biggest number of tax defaulters are from Laxmi Nagar zone where 43,415 property owners owe Rs125.72 crore to the NMC, followed by Nehru Nagar zone (60,659 property owners, Rs120.03 crore arrears) and Ashi Nagar zone (97,153 property owners, Rs102.40 crore dues).
NMC has taken several initiatives to improve tax collection, especially arrears. The total outstanding arrears have increased to Rs679.04 crore from Rs514.75 crore in 2019-20, which were Rs323.36 crore in 2018-19.
Sources said the arrears are piling up because of objections and litigations over tax invoices being generated by the civic body. The NMC has made no efforts at the zonal level to resolve the objections submitted by property owners.
Sources also added that intervention by corporators too was responsible for mounting property tax arrears. “Many times, elected representatives, including office-bearers in the civic body, succeed in preventing the civic administration from taking any punitive action,” admitted a senior official.
With the civic body’s deteriorating financial situation, sources stressed that the causes for this huge outstanding revenue needs to be addressed urgently and rigorous efforts should be made to reverse the trend of increasing arrears so the dues can be brought to manageable levels.
Citing an example, sources said in 2014-15, the arrears from property tax stood at Rs130.69 crore, but have grown to Rs679 crore — which is approximately five times over the last six years. Sources pointed out that among the defaulters, big commercial establishments and government offices account for over Rs250 crore dues.
NMC’s tax department should adopt a two-pronged strategy to reduce such huge dues — focus on optimizing disposal in terms of numbers and allocate development fund on the basis of tax paid in every prabhag, said sources.