After years of inertia, the Chennai Corporation and other urban local bodies in Tamil Nadu have revised the property tax rates. The new rates will be effective from this half-year period i.e., April-September 2018. The increase will not be more than 100% for commercial and rented residential buildings, and not more than 50% for residential buildings.
While the Chennai Corporation last revised property tax in 1998, other local bodies in the State revised it in 2008.
Accepting the proposals of the Chennai Corporation Commissioner, the Commissioner of Municipal Administration and the Director of Town Panchayats, the State government has issued an order paving the way for the hike in tax rate.
Following the revision, the Chennai Corporation is expected to collect ₹180 crore every half-year from 10.5 lakh residential building owners and ₹400 crore from 1.5 lakh non-residential building owners. Property tax collection in Chennai is expected to increase to ₹1,160 crore a year.
Last week, a Division Bench of the Madras High Court directed the Municipal Administration and Water Supply Principal Secretary Harmander Singh to take a decision with regard to the proposal submitted by the Chennai Corporation Commissioner D. Karthikeyan within two weeks regarding the revision of property tax and report to the court during the next hearing on August 3.
Assessees who have already paid property tax for this half-year will have to pay the arrears. “We will issue guidelines for general revision this week,” said an official.
In Chennai, all the 12 lakh property tax assessees will be asked to file property tax returns with the Chennai Corporation Revenue Department, with details on the extent of the building and the usage of the building. While the revision will impact all assessees, those whose nature of usage as changed from residential to commercial will find the hike particularly steep. During the previous revision in 1998, the civic body processed the property tax returns of assessees manually. So it required more manpower and at least six months to process the returns. Now, with advancement of technology, the civic bodies may encourage online submission. Currently, the Chennai Corporation has less than 80 property tax assessors to scrutinise the tax returns.
“Unlike Bengaluru, we do not impose any penalty on assessees who fail to file property tax returns on time. So the collection of property tax returns will be a challenge,” said an official.