Even as the date of availing 15 per cent rebate was extended to March 15 from the earlier February 28, the property tax collection drive of the Jalandhar municipal corporation has received a poor response so far, particularly after the state government issued fresh guidelines for the year 2014-15.
Last year, the civic body had collected Rs 23 crore and around 1 lakh property taxpayers had got registered with it.
SK Wadawa, superintendent, property tax department, said, “Department officials are working on Saturday and Sunday to help residents pay their taxes. A help desk has been set up inside the municipal corporation building to make people understand the process of calculating property tax as per the new guidelines.”
All these attempts have fallen flat as the target of Rs 30 crore collection seems an uphill task at the moment.
Till date, the department has collected Rs 11.94 crore from around 31,000 residents.
Mayor Sunil Jyoti said, “The new regime of property tax introduced by the state government is simple and the tax amount is also very less for residential plot owners. It is my request to people that they should submit their taxes at the earliest. The government even extended the date for availing rebate. But people seem reluctant despite this.”
Paying late tax will invite a penalty of 20 per cent along with 18 per cent interest and, therefore, the taxpayers will have to pay 38 per cent extra amount in addition to the property tax calculated.
The civic body has made it clear that defaulters will not be spared this year. According to the civic body estimates, there are around 1.50 lakh taxpayers in the city after excluding those exempted from paying tax. According to last year’s data, there are around 1 lakh registered taxpayers.
Till date, only 31,000 tax returns have been filed. Many industrial and commercial plot holders have not paid their taxes since they feel that their concerns are not being addressed by the government.
Unlike last year, the government has also removed the clause of appeal for those plot owners who are not satisfied with the new property tax regime this time.
Various industrial associations in the city have held meetings with MLAs and the mayor on the issue.
Their main complaint is that the new regime has not provided them any respite as compared to residential plot holders and, therefore, they are not paying property tax for now.