The good news for the civic body is that despite the vociferous protests against its new property tax system, nearly 90% of the 2.64 lakh citizens who were sent bills have cleared their dues.
The bad news, however, is that its collection has dropped by nearly Rs400 crore as it had to reduce the tax rates for various categories at the insistence of the citizens and political parties to get their backing.
According to its figures, while the revenue the old tax system could have generated is more than Rs3,300 crore, the civic body will be able to fetch only around Rs2,900 crore for the last fiscal.
Ironically, this dip comes in the face of allegations made by various citizen groups that the new capital value-based system is being introduced only so that the civic body can increase its revenue.
Civic officials admit the response from citizens has been commendable.
An official from the assessment and collection department said, “Initially, many had been skeptical because they kept hoping this system will be scrapped. But when they realised it is here to stay, they paid up.”
Between December to April, more than 1.31 lakh property owners paid tax under the new system, while from April to June- end, another 1.11 lakh cleared their dues.
The civic body has collected Rs852 crore in this period, while the rest of its collections have been adjusted against the money citizens have paid through provisional bills sent out in the last three years.
A senior civic official said, “We are happy with the collection. There are new properties that we are yet to map and send bills to. Hence, this collection will rise in the next year or two.”
Bandra-based activist Vidya Vaidya, who was among the many to protest against the system, said, “We are a city of law abiding citizens. Hence, even those of us who protested against the system have paid up, but in protest. We will continue to fight this irrational system.”
The civic body will also give refunds to taxpayers who have paid in excess in the last three years. The amount, of Rs898 crore, is due to 8.59 lakh citizens, who have paid property tax in excess more than once in the past three years.