Over 54% of the 13 lakh property tax assessees have paid tax in the 15 zones of the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) ahead of the September 30 deadline for the half-year period (April-September 2022).
The property tax collection is expected to touch ₹1,000 crore this half year, if the advance payment by NRIs owing property in Chennai is factored in, officials said. Tax is paid in advance for many years for over 20% of the property owned by NRIs, who are willing to pay a higher amount for the property in which they have invested.
In terms of amount, the GCC has collected 65%, receiving ₹600 crore so far. By September 30, it is expected to collect ₹1,100 crore, the officials said. The officials said the highest collection of 65% has been registered in the category of huge taxpayers who pay more than ₹50,000 for the half-year. Of the 13 lakh property taxpayers in the city, just 23,000 have to pay more than ₹50,000 during this half-year period.
After the property tax rates were increased to meet the guidelines of the World Bank, the number of big taxpayers who pay more than ₹50,000 for a half-year has increased from 13,000 to 23,000, officials said. Officials have been reiterating that the World Bank will give an additional amount in loan for every percentage point increase in the Corporation’s own source of revenue. It is actually a loan for the development of civic infrastructure, but the interest is going to be paid by the State government. So, for the Corporation, the loan from the World Bank is as good as a grant for development of projects for improving street lights, roads, drains, solid waste management, hospitals, schools, parks and playgrounds, they said.
Velachery resident S. Kumararaja said Corporation and Metrowater officials were organising camps to collect charges, increasing the pressure on the residents to pay before September 30.
‘Burden on residents’
“Because of the increase in property tax, Metrowater charges have increased because it collects 8% of the property tax increase. This is a burden on the residents. The officials claim that the poor have not been affected by the property tax increase. But the middle class has been affected,” he said.
Corporation officials said they have sent revision notices for property tax with QR codes for making payments. “Promotional films have been screened at all Chennai theatres urging people to pay taxes. We have given free movie tickets sponsored by DBS Bank for select taxpayers. Cashback has started from Federal Bank and HDFC Bank. Reminder SMS messages and IVR calls have been made. Online calculator has been provided to find out the tax for any hypothetical property in any street. All our garbage vehicles are carrying the message,” said an official.
Even as the property tax collection for this half-year has already touched ₹600 crore, it was ₹450 crore during the half-year period in 2021, said an official. “Property tax is the main source of revenue for the Chennai Corporation. The Corporation provides fundamental civic amenities… Only when residents pay their taxes in time, the Corporation can deliver world-class civic infrastructure that is expected in a mega city like Chennai,” said Deputy Commissioner (Revenue and Finance) Vishu Mahajan.