Mayor promises pro-citizen tax collection regime by April 2016

'MCC has little freedom, when it comes to the property tax'

 Mayor B L Bhyrappa promised to introduce a pro-citizen property tax collection regime from the next fiscal in spite of a few fundamental flaws in the system of Mysuru City Corporation.

He was speaking during the monthly public meeting of Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP), here, on Sunday, when he confronted a volley of questions on the problems faced by honest property tax payers.

Members of the MGP and a few citizens complained about the lack of clarity regarding deductions like depreciation, amount and time of enhancement of property tax, lack of assistance at regional offices of the MCC, exploitation by form-filling touts, lack of verification of claims, non-entry of tax paid in the register, differential rates of tax within the same wards of two neighbouring properties, and total absence of revenue inspectors to keep a tab on illegal constructions in the wards.

‘Buyers victims’
The citizens complained that the worst sufferers were people living in apartments.
“Some builders have managed to build extra floors, violating the approved plan, and have deceived gullible buyers by selling them without disclosing the illegality of such constructions. In such cases, the MCC is collecting double the normal property tax from the victimised apartment owners, but refuse to issue khata on the grounds that the constructions are illegal,” they said.


Pointing out that earlier, several branches of prominent banks were collecting property tax, the citizens said, now the numbers had considerably reduced, further the MysoreOne has stopped collecting property tax, which is forcing the owners to go to the regional offices, where the facility to collect tax is either insufficient or there is total callousness on the part of the staffers. They complained that online property payment is not working; web-calculator is not functioning; tax forms are very lengthy and complex. A few senior citizens sought concession in the property tax.

‘MCC autonomy soon’
Mayor Bhyrappa admitted that there were serious issues in the collection of property tax. “Even though local bodies like MCC are autonomous under law, they are under the tight administrative control of the State government in reality. Even the forms for tax payment are approved or provided by the State government. The MCC has little freedom, when it comes to the property tax. But, of late, the State government has passed orders for providing functional autonomy to panchayats and soon the MCC may be considered for autonomy. Under self assessment scheme (SAS), there is little scope for the MCC to interfere. However, we have taken up random sampling of the SAS tax paid application to ensure that there is no underpayment of tax. We have also taken steps to widen the coverage of property tax to 100 per cent by next fiscal year,” he said.

He said, from the next fiscal year, starting April, the MCC was fully prepared to provide necessary assistance to the public in the payment of property tax. He assured that the form-filling touts will be a passé. A new handbook will be provided to the public, which will assist in calculating one’s property tax. He said, he is contemplating linking up with CESC for efficient property tax collection as also to link up with water connections.

Bhyrappa confessed that over a period of time, the overall efficiency level of the MCC staff had seen a steep fall as the recruitment process had been stopped. Most of the work is being extracted from contract workers on whom not much disciplining is possible, he added.

Besides, the citizens raised issues like collection of dry and wet waste, non-distribution of red and green buckets in certain areas, potholes on certain roads, improper laying of concrete roads, levy of service tax on educational institutions, improper sanitation in certain wards and developmental issues regarding Chamundi Hill.

The mayor was accompanied by Revenue Officer of the MCC Suresh Babu. President of MGP R Chandra Prakash, executive members Sudhir Vombatkere, Shobha, K R Sheshadri, Saokar, and Manjunath, members Ganga Prasad, K V Ramanath, Sunder Rajan, P M Bhat, and Jayaram participated in the meeting.

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