In the three months since the implementation of the capital value based property tax system, the civic body has received a whopping 40,777 complaints from citizens regarding errors and issues with their bills – of which it has addressed and closed a paltry 154.
In its defence, the civic body claimed that while 12,241 complaints are those that question the levying of tax under the new system and hence cannot be addressed, the nature of 23,584 of the complaints is complex and their redressal is time-consuming as it requires physical inspection of such properties by officials and public hearings.
However, 4,952 cases pertain solely to factual mistakes in marking the physical factors of properties used to calculate the capital value, which merely require corrections to be made in the data available with the civic body and no physical inspection.
“The staff needed some time to get familiar with the software developed for the new system and accordingly process and dispose of complaints. Technical and software issues are the main reason for the delay,” said SS Shinde, joint municipal commissioner.
Shinde, however, seemed hopeful that the backlog would be cleared quickly in the coming days. “Over time, the redressal mechanism has been developed well.”
Civic officials also said that the extension of the deadline for tax payment – in view of the chaos and complaints from citizens and trouble in understanding the new system – from March 31 to June 30, has affected the BMC’s revenue from property tax collection.
“We have received comparatively less payments in March after the deadline extension was announced,” said a civic official.
To boost early payment of bills by property tax, the BMC has also decided to roll out its 'early bird' scheme from next year to give rebates to citizens who pay taxes well in advance.