VIJAYAWADA: After finding several discrepancies in tax payments by property owners during a pilot survey in three divisions of the city, the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) is all set to conduct a comprehensive survey in all the 51 wards. The civic body is expecting to raise an additional revenue of at least Rs 25 crore through the property tax after carrying out the corrections.
According to official sources, the integrated revenue survey carried out in three divisions (1, 18 and 32) revealed that about Rs 1.45 crore additional revenue could be generated if some irregularities are done away with.
The surveyors identified that there were 414 illegal water connections, 198 drainage connections and several under-assessed or unassessed properties. If these are regularised and bills collected, the VMC could get Rs 60,76,582 in revenue and another Rs 80 lakh in taxes. They have also assessed that they can collect Rs 4,17,371 towards D&O Trade License as they have identified commercial activity.
Following this, VMC commissioner C Harikiran asked the officials concerned to issue notices to the owners of these properties asking them to pay property tax, water cess and the dues of UGD charges.
Meanwhile, the cash-strapped VMC is also planning to hike the property tax to bolster its revenues. The civic body has made several attempts to hike the property tax since 2007, but in vain due to strong resistance from the people.
The state government issued GO 88 in March, 2011 removing the obstacles for revision of the property tax by municipal corporations. The officials are of the opinion that jacking up the property tax for both residential and commercial properties will bring some relief to the civic body that has been facing severe financial crisis for some time now.
“We have not hiked the property tax in the last 12 years. As per the Municipal Corporation Act, the government says the tax should be revised every five years,” said a senior official of the VMC.
The VMC officials are expecting that they can earn Rs 30 crore additional revenue by increasing the property tax. Now, the VMC is presently earning an annual revenue of Rs 74 crore from property tax. As per the records available with the civic body, the total property tax assessments are around 1.75 lakh in the city. But the number of commercial properties is below 18,000.
VMC commissioner C Harikiran recently made it clear that the civic body needs in-house corrections to improve the financial status.
It is learnt that the VMC officials are planning to meet chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu after completing the survey to get his nod for the hike in property tax.
It may be recalled that Union minister for urban development M Venkaiah Naidu also made it clear that the Centre will not provide financial assistance to each and every civic body that comes to the Centre and stressed the need for proper collection of taxes.