Owners of 20,000 properties in posh south Delhi colonies such as Green Park, Lajpat Nagar and Hauz Khas are set to face criminal charges not paying property tax, especially of the basement area.
The property tax department of south Corporation has already sent notices to 1000 properties and more are on their way.
According to sources, there are 30,000 properties in three of the four zones of the south Corporation that have been converted from residential to commercial status. These include restaurants, banks, spas and stationery shops.
Despite the change in status, however, at the time of assessment, about 20000 properties are still calculating the tax at residential rates which is several times lower than that imposed on commercial properties. Some properties have been paying taxes for the ground floor and above but have been avoiding the tax payment on the basement.
"This way, the corporation is losing several crores of revenue as property tax. Under the unit area method followed by the
corporation, property owners calculate their own tax," said an official of the property tax department.
If found guilty, the defaulters can face up to seven years in prison. "The notices are being sent under section 152-A of the DMC (Amendment) Act 2003 for default in payment of property tax and furnishing wrong information in the return of assessment," added the official.
The property tax department for the first time has tied up with the building department to nab the offenders. The building department has the list of all properties that have been converted from residential to commercial and the tax department officials have been matching the tax paid against the properties in the list.
Confirming the news that the notices have been sent, assessor and collector BN Singh said that they are just trying to make property owners pay what rightly belongs to the corporation.
"The corporation wants people to pay taxes correctly especially now when we have made payment so much easier by making it online. If people have any issues they can always get in touch with us," Singh said.
Compared to 2011, the corporation has already collected Rs 80 crore more from last year’s Rs 239 crore to Rs 360 crore this year.