Faulty notices irk taxpayers in city

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation is giving double trouble to its tax payers. Property owners have been shocked to receive tax default notices not once but twice, despite having paid the tax on time. Default notices with interest and arrears calculated on the principal tax amount are being served on those who have already paid. It is only after the tax payers go running to the GHMC office that officials are correcting records.

“Such laxity should not be tolerated. First, we have to run around the AP Online or e-Seva centres to pay the tax on time. Then we have to again run around GHMC offices to ensure that a correct entry is made in records. Prompt tax payers should be offered incentives and not harassed like this,” said C. Sundar Rao, a resident of Khairatabad. According to K. Sujatha of Nizampet, the civic body is not updating its tax payment records. She had paid the full tax amount on June 4, 2011. The GHMC sent her a default notice on January 2, 2012 showing the due amount to be Rs 2,188. when the correct amount due, which she had already paid, was Rs 2,028.

Another notice was sent on June 27, 2012, this time showing the due amount as Rs 3,023. After showing the receipt of the tax already paid, the staff accepted that she had paid the correct amount of Rs 2,028. Meanwhile, complaints are pouring in that taxmen are intentionally making inflated assessments and then they demanding bribes to reduce the same. “The plinth area of my building is 3,000 sft and I was asked to pay Rs 16,000 per annum as tax. My neighbour is paying only Rs 3,000, though his built-up area is over 5,000 sft. On being asked, the official first said tax rates are higher in posh areas. Then he said my neighbour’s tax will be revised next year. Finally, he offered to reduce the tax by 50 per cent if I paid him a bribe of Rs 10,000. Why can’t the GHMC put up notice boards in every colony displaying the tax rates?” asks V. Dev of Old Bowenpally.

GHMC additional commissioner (finance/revenue) K. Ashok said that Rs 14 crore is being spent to revamp the IT wing. “The GIS mapping of nearly five lakh properties located in Circles 3, 8, 9 and 14 for assessing property tax is being done. Once this is done, neither the tax official nor the houseowner can conceal the plinth area. Also, an online tax payment facility is being created on GHMC’s website through which citizens can calculate their tax. This will end corruption by taxmen,” Mr Reddy said. outlining what sounds like a marvellous futuristic scenario.

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