CHENNAI: The Corporation of Chennai is expecting to earn Rs 282 crore in property tax revenue for the first half of the fiscal year 2015-16, according to officials.
The Corporation had collected Rs 581.82 crore in property tax for the year ended 2014-15 against a target of Rs 600 crore. Incidentally, it was also the first time that the civic body had earned in excess of Rs 500 crore since it started levying property tax. During the budget presentation in February 2015, the Mayor Saidai S Duraisamy had announced that the target for the current fiscal would remain Rs 600 crore.
Officials told City Express that the current fiscal’s collection has started on a positive note and that nearly Rs 50 crore has been levied until now. “Since April 1, we have collected Rs 48.21 crore as property tax. The maximum revenue has been generated in Adyar (zone 13) where nearly Rs 15 crore has been collected,” an official said.
Officials added that recovery of outstanding tax arrears has been given importance after a mandate from senior officials to the effect. “Arrears from previous fiscal and uncollected tax revenue from assessees due to pending or past litigation is the main focus. We expect to net another Rs 245 crore from it,” an official said. Collectively, that brings the total sum the Corporation expects to net in the first half of the current fiscal to Rs 527 crore.
Among individuals, commercial building, businesses or hotels, mansions in the city are also the biggest defaulters, officials said. “As much as Rs 100 crore revenue is riding on the mansions in the city,” said an official. However, mansion owners have a pending litigation challenging the Corporation’s decision to levy tax at a rate similar to that of commercial buildings in the city.
“Their argument is that since they let out rooms as residential spaces, the property tax rates should be the same as residences but letting out for rent is a business,” an official added. Despite the limitations, civic body officials are confident that tax collection would breach the Rs 600 crore mark.