From July, paying property tax through cheques will be a thing of the past. Alarmed by the increasing number of cases of bounced cheques, the three new municipal corporations have decided to only accept demand drafts (DD) and cash. Online transactions will also be accepted.
Municipal officials have revealed that in the past five years, nearly one lakh cheques were dishonoured in the erstwhile MCD leading to a loss of a few hundred crore rupees. While some of the cheques bounced because of the payee, others were dishonoured since the property tax department did not encash them on time.
“In majority of the cases, the MCD did not encash the cheques months after they were deposited with the civic body. Later on, the cheques bounced. To avoid such losses, from July, the civic bodies will only receive cash, demand drafts or online payments,” said a senior official of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC).
After the trifurcation of the MCD this year, thousands of cheques bounced because property owners had been addressing them to the unified MCD, ignorant of the fact that the civic body had been split and that under the new set-up, the cheques have to be addressed to their respective corporations.
“When cheques bounce, we impose a fine of R150 on the owners, which further aggravates the issue,” said a senior official of SDMC.
The new system of tax payments through cash and demand drafts will begin in SDMC and depending on the response will be extended to the other two corporations. Nearly 25 per cent of the 10.3 lakh taxpayers use cheques to file property tax returns. “We pay discoms through cheques, and they have never complained. So, I can’t fathom why the civic body wants to stop payments through cheques,” said Shivam Munshi, a resident of Amar Colony.
But Mihir Gupta of Vasundhara Enclave believes it is time people moved to online payments. “Nowadays, property owners have internet connections at home or at workplaces. If I can pay them online, so can they,” Gupta said.
According to the MCD data, 48 per cent of the city’s taxpayers had filed their returns online in 2011-2012.