In February-March, it served system-generated notices to owners on charges of paying tax less than due for four assessment years from 2016-17 to 2019-20.
Claiming that owners had chosen the wrong zone, the agency imposed twice the difference amount as penalty and 24% interest per annum. The BBMP admitted the notices were wrongfully issued as it hadn’t informed them about zonal reclassification on which new rates were fixed.
It proposed waiver of penalty and interest components and sent it to the government on August 11.
“We have sought clarifications. We’ll send the final version to chief minister Basavaraj Bommai who will decide,” said Rakesh Singh, additional chief secretary, urban development department.
As per the self-assessment scheme designed in 2000, properties are classified under six zones based on guidance value (minimum selling price fixed by the government) of the locality or street and tax rate is fixed accordingly.
While Zone A attracts the highest rate, Zone F the lowest. If an owner chooses a lower zone wrongly, she has to pay twice the difference amount and interest.
The rules mandate that BBMP reclassifies zones once in three years based on changed rental value and guidance value. This was last done in 2016-17 but was not communicated to taxpayers.
While notices have been served to 22,000 property owners, BBMP has collected over Rs 16 crore.
With owners crying foul, BBMP is mulling over a refund. “The amount can be adjusted with future tax liability if the government agrees,” said M Venkatachalapathy, joint commissioner (revenue), BBMP.
Rules do not permit it and officials said it may attract audit objections. The issue may figure in the monsoon session of the legislature starting Monday with Congress members ready to raise it in both assembly and council. “The government should explain how it will solve this problem,” said MLC PR Ramesh (Congress).