New property tax may be delayed

While the state government has set August 16 as the deadline for collecting property tax under the revised scheme, the Kochi Corporation could find it difficult to meet the deadline, given the huge task before it of covering four lakh door numbers in the city and issuing tax return forms to all the residents, offices and shops concerned.

Revenue department officials admit it will be almost impossible to complete the exercise in the deadline set by the government.

They point out that although the mayor would like to see distribution of return forms among those expected to pay the tax completed by July 10, officers who have been on the job since the first week of May, have been able to cover only 20 to 25 per cent of their target so far.

The door to door distribution of tax forms is intended to familiarise people with the new system and to make the process of self-assessment easier.

“It will take at least another month to complete the exercise. After distributing the forms, a notification will be published in newspapers and building owners will have to submit the return forms within 60 days ,” says a revenue officer.

Once the tax return forms are submitted, the local body will give a unique code number to the buildings concerned to help identify them and also establish whether they are occupied and authorised. All details of the buildings will be entered into the revenue department’s GIS map and databank. Revenue officers have received special training to deal with the property tax in its new avatar.

While it was previously assessed on the basis of annual building rent, the new system is based on plinth area and can be calculated by the taxpayer himself in accordance with the norms of the local body.

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