This wedding season, look for some uninvited guests who may gatecrash your farmhouse party with video cameras and no gifts.
In a bid to crack down on farmhouses that rent out their premises for lavish wedding parties but do not pay commercial property tax, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has decided to send its officials to record proceedings.
The property tax department will compare the farmhouses holding the parties with the list of commercial farmhouses registered under them and send notices to those who are avoiding tax. It expects to generate a few crore rupees in taxes through the drive.
There are 2,500 farmhouses under the South Zone and 700 farmhouses under the Najafgarh zone. As few as 50 farmhouses are currently registered under commercial use and are entitled host parties and weddings. Yet, according to officials of the SDMC, hundreds of farmhouses are illegally organising weddings and functions without paying any commercial tax. The number increases during the wedding season when the demand for such venues surges.
Teams of enforcement department officials are expected to start work after Navratras, when the wedding season officially starts in the city.
“We will videotape and take pictures of the function to prove the farmhouse is used for commercial porposes, a violation of the law,” said a senior property tax department official.
The property tax department has also started the process of calculating the correct charges for farmhouses. If the built-up area is less than 25 per cent, the farmhouses are liable to pay for the vacant land as well but owners ignore the rule.
“The provision 5 of DMC (property taxes ) bylaws 2004, says that vacant land should be included in the area liable for property tax but there are many properties that are only paying for the built-up area. They claim that the vacant land is agricultural area but they still have to pay for it,” said an official.