Citizens yet to fully embrace Palike’s online tax facility

Despite being citizens of the IT capital of India, the city’s residents have been lax in using the online option to pay property taxes.

On April 1, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike set a record by collecting Rs 439 crore in property taxes, as against Rs 362.96 crore the same day the previous year.

However, payments made offline have exceeded those made online. As on April 23, 2018, the Palike collected Rs 253.35 crore offline as against just Rs 169.24 crore online.

However, online payments have risen sharply this year compared to previous years. During the entire 2017-18, the online collection was Rs 573 crore.

“This year, in just 24 days, almost 20% of the previous year’s online tax payments have already been made,” said Manoj Rajan, special commissioner, BBMP.

Though the city fares well when it comes to other e-commerce transactions and online payments, in the case of the BBMP’s property taxes, the offline mode scores over the online method.

While security concerns were a drawback with online payments, many people are comfortable with the age-old procedure of paying through challans either at BangaloreOne centres or at BBMP offices.

“I use my net banking and credit cards to make online transactions for other processes. However, when it comes to paying tax, I prefer visiting the office because I don’t want to go wrong,” said Bharath Raj from Chickpet.

Interestingly, people from areas like Indiranagar, Koramangala and Mahadevapura have mostly paid online.

“People who are not technically well-equipped, senior citizens or those who have faced some difficulty paying online would prefer paying offline,” reasons Jayaram N, a resident from Jayanagar.

“We have made a robust online system and have also fixed all the initial technical glitches to help citizens pay taxes comfortably from their homes. All they have to do is adapt to it,” said BBMP commissioner Manjunath Prasad.

Urban expert V Ravichandar said, “The challenge for the BBMP is to get more tax payers back to the online system
by providing them a user-friendly and reliable payment system.”

The BBMP has collected Rs 472 crore in taxes till April 24 and is expected to rake in more in the coming days.

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