VISAKHAPATNAM: Bogged down by lack of funds for various projects to boost development in municipal areas, the state government is all set to increase the property tax in all municipal areas across Andhra Pradesh.
Apart from conducting reassessment of the properties in all municipal areas, the municipal administration and urban development department (MAUD) has sought proposals and suggestions from the municipalities concerned for revising the property tax from new financial year commencing this April, to meet the expenses.
The state government is facing severe fund crunch and its coffers are drying up fast. The government has no option but increase various taxes to improve revenue income and fund various welfare and development scheme in the state. “The state government is not in a position to fund several projects in urban areas and we want the municipal corporations to be self-sufficient to fund the projects on their own. However, a final decision will be taken only after obtaining suggestions from the municipal corporation and the approval from chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu,” said the higher officials at the MAUD.
However, the officials at Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) said that they did not receive any orders in this regard so far.
As part of the exercise to improve its revenue, the MAUD found that the property taxes in various cities and towns are not being realised against their targets. It was also found that several properties are under-valued or un-assessed. For instance, more than 25,000 of about 4.25 lakh properties in the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) limits were identified as under-assessed or un-assessed during a recent survey. The officials said that they are yet to collect `68.8 crore of the targeted `196.3 crore towards property tax for the year 2014-15.
Similarly, the municipal authorities of Vijayawada Municipal Corporation, who are netting about `77 crore property tax every year, found that more than 10 per cent of the total 1.82 lakh assessment is either under-assessed or un-assessed.
“Unless the revenue receipts increase, we will not be in a position to implement the development and welfare programmes. All efforts are being made to increase the revenue without burdening the denizens. However, we cannot rule out the possibility of increase in property taxes,” said a senior official in the municipal administration department.
For improving the revenues, the GVMC is all set to conduct street survey of the cities for property tax assessment commencing from April 1. Special teams are being formed for conducting the street survey using Google Maps.
Meanwhile, the Society for Visakha Property Tax Payers Forum (SVPTPF) strongly objected to the reports about a hike in the property tax and urged the government not to impose such decision on the denizens forcibly. They demanded that the government should collect the tax arrears from the rich, who are violating norms by not paying the taxes within stipulated time, instead of imposing additional taxes on the common man.