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BMC to collect property taxes from builders in advance

The BMC will soon start collecting property taxes from builders before issuing them occupancy certificates, to avoid harassment of flat buyers and cooperative housing societies that face notices for non-payment of the taxes the builder was supposed to pay. Replying to a Calling Attention motion raised by Leader of Opposition Ekanth Khadse, Minister of State for Urban Development Bhaskar Jadhav told the state assembly yesterday that the advance tax collection will prove helpful to buyers. The motion was about the BMC notices issued to over 3.22 lakh flat buyers in Mumbai for outstanding dues payable by the builders. 

Members cutting across party lines drew the MoS’s attention to the hardship faced by innocent buyers who pay their taxes on time, but bear the burden of taxes unpaid by the builder since the building’s construction. The dues are slapped on the buyers instead, or the housing societies, that come into existence after the sale of the flat or the building. Accepting the contention, the Minister said that to avoid such incidents, the government has decided to allow collection of advance property tax to avoid hardships to flat owners.

Khadse demanded immediate revocation of the notices to which Jadhav did not offer any satisfactory reply. Speaker Dilip Walse Patil asked the government how it was going to stem the public ire as builders do not cooperate in the formation of the housing society, nor do they cooperate in the process of conveyance of the building and the premises to the society.

To this, Jadhav mooted a comprehensive policy for which he sought time. The speaker insisted on a timeframe for such a policy. State Legislature members such as Bala Nandgaonkar, Nawab Malik, Kalidas Kolambkar, and Pramod Jathar demanded relief for flat owners who routinely face BMC notices for the builders’ fault. They also demanded immediate stay on future projects undertaken by the builders who have avoided payment of property tax and left the present occupants to face the music. A suggestion was made to ensure payment of taxes before issuance of the occupation certificates to the buildings.  

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