Thursday, Jul 18, 2002
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By Suresh Krishnamoorthy
In the first quarter this year, it had collected a property tax of about Rs. 9 crores, a 33 per cent increase over the Rs. 6.5 crores collected between April and June 2001. It has decided to continue accepting returns filed by owners and occupiers of property under the Self-Assessment of Property Tax Scheme.
The scheme was introduced in 1999-2000 keeping in view the fact that there has been no general revision of tax as contemplated under the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Act, 1955, for the past few decades. In the absence of a revision, property owners paid taxes levied decades ago, resulting in a loss to the MCH.
Since its introduction in 1999, about 65 per cent of the 5.25 lakh assessees have filed their returns, according to the MCH Commissioner, Chitra Ramachandran. "We are trying to persuade the remaining 35 per cent of people to file their returns voluntarily. We are not interested in using force to make people pay," she said.
Asked as to what sort of `action' the MCH would take against people who did not pay up, she said, "We will give them a fair chance. Otherwise, the only alternative to make the `obstinate ones' pay is to go in for assessment of their property ourselves.
This way there is a possibility of the property owner ending up paying more."
Asked whether the corporation was fixing a final date by which people could file their returns, she replied in the negative. "But people can take the first step and file their returns. Self-assessment is voluntary. We shall not issue any more letters of guarantee like last year," she said.
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