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Mumbaikars, get ready for last-minute rush to pay your property tax

Updated on: 31 January,2024 05:19 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Prajakta Kasale |

BMC yet to receive govt nod to revise bills, after which it will take month to send them out

Mumbaikars, get ready for last-minute rush to pay your property tax

The BMC headquarters. File pic

Citizens will have to rush to pay their property tax bills at the last minute as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is yet to receive the State Cabinet nod to maintain the level of property tax charged and not increase it. There are hardly two months remaining in the financial year and it will take the civic body at least a month to print and distribute copies of revised bills after it gets approval. The BMC budget for the next year will be presented in the next 2-3 days, but the corporation is far from collecting its second-highest source of income—property tax.

As per the rules, property tax rates are hiked every five years. As the BMC hasn’t done this since 2020-21, it required a nod every year from the state government to not hike it and the approval generally comes within the first six months of the financial year. However, this year the BMC didn’t send any proposal to not raise the tax and instead started uploading online bills in the last week of December with an announced hike of 15-20 per cent. The move drew criticism from citizens and the BMC immediately withdrew it on December 30, assuring that the revised bills will be sent with the same amount as last year, i.e. 2022-23.

A month later, the BMC is still waiting for permission from the state government. The BMC sent in a request two weeks ago and deputed an officer to get the sanction by filing all the required documents. But there is no response from the government. “The proposal is with the state cabinet. We are expecting an official nod today,” said Iqbal Singh Chahal, administrator of the BMC. Even if the BMC gets a nod, it will take time to re-issue the bills, creating a last-hour rush for citizens to pay and a challenge for civic officials to collect the amount before the March deadline. The delay will also affect the revenue model of the corporation.

In the 2023-24 budget, which was Rs 52,619 crore, the BMC proposed a 16 per cent hike in property tax to increase revenue and estimated that it would result in an additional R6,000 crore. The revenue model of the civic body has taken a hit by being unable to hike property tax for the last four years (since 2020-21), and the situation has become worse due to the 11-month delay in issuing bills this year. The delay has resulted in a loss worth crores of rupees which the BMC earns as interest, as only 20 per cent of the bill amount was collected till December 31, as compared to the same period last year.

In 2022-23, the BMC was able to collect Rs 3,175 crore till December 31 despite a few months of delay in issuing the bills. This year only R638 crore was added to the BMC kitty during the same period. The corporation also reversed the water tax hike this year, which has also harmed its revenue structure.

Dec 30
Day BMC withdrew bills it had issued

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