Karnataka goes after suburban properties to mop up tax

Karnataka government goes after suburban properties to mop up taxes

Several commercial and industrial establishments, including IT services major Infosys, fall under gram panchayat limits in the Bengaluru Urban district

Representative image. Credit: iStock photo

Lakhs of properties in rural areas are either not liable to pay any tax or their bill is not more than a paltry sum of Rs 100 annually, an internal audit has found, prompting the government to initiate a crackdown. 

For instance, authorities found 80,732 properties on the outskirts of Bengaluru whose tax demand is ‘zero’ or less than Rs 100, which they said was “ridiculous” given the rapid urbanisation taking place in the city’s suburbs. 

Several commercial and industrial establishments, including IT services major Infosys, fall under gram panchayat limits in the Bengaluru Urban district. 

In all, 8.62 lakh such properties were found across the state. 

Gram panchayats are empowered to levy taxes on residential, commercial, industrial properties as well as vacant plots, hoardings, mobile towers among others. 

“It is a serious administrative lapse and carelessness that so many properties were not being taxed,” Rural Development & Panchayat Raj principal secretary L K Atheeq, who took stock of this on Friday, told DH. 

“After a month-long crackdown, we managed to reduce the number of properties that had a tax demand of ‘zero’ or less than Rs 100 in Bengaluru Urban,” he pointed out.

Around this time, last month, the 95 gram panchayats in Bengaluru Urban collected Rs 12.04 crore in property tax. This has gone up to Rs 30.55 crore.  

Further, the total tax demand from suburban properties in Bengaluru Urban has been revised to Rs 275 crore from Rs 233 crore. 

Atheeq explained that properties that come under e-Swathu, the rural database, should ideally reflect in Panchatantra, the RDPR taxation software. “This hasn’t happened,” he said. 

Online tax payment

The undermining of the tax potential of rural properties could be linked to officials trying to bypass the online payment system that the government has rolled out. 

“Since we are receiving complaints that some of the panchayats are discouraging people from paying online, we wish to take up a campaign to promote online tax payment,” Atheeq said. 

Rural property owners can visit bsk.karnataka.gov.in to pay tax. “We have received Rs 1.56 crore in online taxes this financial year,” he said.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox