The Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) property tax department earned a record Rs1,300 crore, including additional revenue of Rs114.16crore, in the first three quarters of the ongoing fiscal (2021-22) from such units. The owners of residential properties were using these assets for commercial purposes, but paying tax at residential rates.
“A survey was carried out by civic officials, in which change of use was detected. The people were then asked to pay charges at commercial rates,” said Vilas Kanade, head, PMC property tax department. He said some commercial establishments carried out construction with permission, others without sanctions — either way, they had not shown it to the department, which collects tax for additional area. So, flying squads of PMC visited such places and calculated the extra tax, then issued bills with the increased amount.
At present, PMC contains some 11.6 lakh properties under its limits, including those from the merger of villages in 2017 and 2021. Of all these, owners of 7.81 lakh properties have paid tax of Rs1,303 crore.
PMC allow online and offline modes of tax payment. Levy for 5.53lakh properties was paid online, while that of 2.28lakh properties was paid offline.
Besides action over change of use, attachments of properties also helped increase revenue. PMC earned Rs100 crore from sealing and attaching as many as 1,300 assets, too.
Though civic activists have welcomed these actions, they claim that the extent of the problem is much bigger. “The civic administration should focus on more such drives. The number of such properties, where attachment is required and change of use has been made, is extremely high on ground. Dedicated teams should be formed to search for them and bring them all under the tax ambit,” said Vijay Kumbhar of Surajya Sangharsh Samiti, a citizens’ group.