MCD launches survey of properties to identify tax defaulters

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi has recorded an all-time high gross property tax collection of Rs 1157 crore in the 2009-10 fiscal, with the number of taxpayers also reaching the highest-ever figure of 9.73 lakh. However, officials say owners of an estimated 22 lakh properties in the city are not paying tax to the civic agency. The tax collection for 2009-10 fiscal was nearly 250 crore less than the target of Rs 1400 crore.

The proposal for a comprehensive door-to-door survey of all the properties within the jurisdiction of the corporation was doing rounds for the several months. Issuing a public notice, the MCD has said the survey will be carried out by the Assessment and Collection Department with effect from today through its property surveyors.

Officials had earlier said MCD domestic breeding checkers (DBCs), generally used for undertaking inspection to check for mosquito breeding in houses, will be pressed into service for the survey. In the notice, the MCD has asked the owners or occupiers of properties to "cooperate and furnish correct information or documents to the surveyors", warning that non-cooperation will "attract penal provisions under the DMC (Delhi Municipal Corporation) Act, 1957 and the Indian Penal Code."

The owners or occupiers have also been advised by the MCD to file property tax returns and pay tax in lumpsum on or before June 30 to avail benefit of a 15 per cent rebate and to avoid interest or penalty for delay or default. The Survey of India is also conducting a door-to-door survey of properties in the city and the MCD had said it will make comprehensive use of the data during the current financial year to identify those not paying tax.

However, demand for undertaking a survey by MCD itself had been raised by both the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress in the civic body. Property tax, leviable on all land and buildings under the jurisdiction of MCD, is a key source of revenue for the civic agency. It had, in its 2010-11 budget, increased the property tax rates in various categories. To lure more tax-payers, it had also launched a special amnesty-cum-tax settlement scheme for defaulters but it failed to elicit the expected response.

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