BENGALURU: The State Government is all set to increase the property tax within Panchayat limits, and the task of passing the resolution to increase the taxes will fall on 91,000 panchayat members, who were elected recently. As per the Karnataka Gram Swaraj and Panchayat Raj Act, the taxes have to be revised once in two years. But only some panchayats have periodically increased the taxes, while majority have been stalling the decision, leading to a shortfall in revenue targets.
Officials from the Rural Development Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Department said that they need Rs 911 crore per year to pay the salaries of all the panchayat employees, but they face a shortage because panchayats do not collect taxes effectively. Every year, the target is set at around Rs 600 crore, but panchayats collect only around Rs 400 crore. Besides, there is a balance of Rs 1,206 crore that has piled up over the years.
Panchayats’ kitty below target this yr
This year, panchayats could collect only `248 crore, as against the target of `666 crore because of Covid. Official sources said that many properties are not under the tax net. “Even those who are paying the taxes underquote their liability. For example, the owner of a bungalow will continue to pay the tax for a tiled-roof house as the records would not have been changed.
Many residential properties have been converted into commercial spaces, but taxes are continued to be paid under the residential property bracket which is far lesser. Due to such violations, panchayats are unable to generate enough revenues. Despite stressing that panchayats should become selfsufficient, they continue to depend on State and Central government funds,” they added.
“The tax revision uses a scientific method. We have classified RCC houses, houses with red oxide and marble flooring and commercial establishments. The new tax structure will be applicable for all panchayats. Panchayats have to first pass a resolution bringing the changes into effect, and then submit it to higher officials for approval,’’ RDPR Secretary L K Ateeq told TNIE.