Bengaluru: For the first time, the BBMP has impounded movable properties such as cars and school buses for defaulting the property tax. The action comes just three months after the civic body came up with a standard operating procedure to seize as well as attach properties as a part of its plan to intensify tax recovery drive.
Officials said all the four vehicles were seized in BBMP’s Yelahanka division. “Hours after the vehicles were seized, the property owners decided to pay 50% of the arrears and appeal against our notices,” a senior BBMP official said.
While the BBMP has sealed over 10,603 shops and commercial establishments in the last six months, the civic body had not impounded moveable properties as it did not have a dedicated space to keep the seized vehicles. “Under the BBMP Act, there is a provision to seize either moveable and immovable properties by issuing distress warrants. We are not locking up any house for defaulting tax as we do not want to go hard on people,” a senior revenue official told DH.
Overall, the BBMP has issued notices to 46,318 properties between November and February this year. During the same period, the revenue officials have attached 7,203 properties for not paying the taxes even after sealing their premises.
This is the first time the civic body has taken up large-scale action against the property tax defaulters who together owe more than Rs 500 crore to the BBMP. Besides going after the defaulters, the civic body has also started revisiting properties to re-verify the property as well as the records submitted under the self-assessment scheme (SAS).
While the initiative has helped in increasing BBMP’s revenue by over Rs 550 crore, the move has also received criticism from some quarters. Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy is among the prominent leaders who opposed the BBMP’s tax recovery drive. On Monday, a delegation of BJP leaders also objected to the drive, calling it an “extortion” and “harassment of citizens.”
BBMP's Chief Commissioner Tushar Girinath had earlier said the civic body is focusing on recovering tax from property owners who owe more than Rs 10 lakh to the civic body. "We are not targeting small defaulters."