If you are paying property tax in Punjab, pay it carefully and correctly as you may face hefty penalty for hiding any information about your properties, as the SAD-BJP-led Punjab government is mulling a door-to-door survey to find out the actual details of the properties of every individual residing in the urban areas of the state.
A decision to this effect was likely after March 31, 2014, the last date of filing the property tax with 25% penalty, if the government fails to achieve the set target of accumulating Rs 1,000 crore from the property tax imposed recently to get funds under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.
"Since, people are not showing a keen interest in filing the property tax, especially on commercial properties, the government is planning a door-to-door survey to decide the actual tax collection from every household in the municipal corporations and committees," said a senior official on condition of anonymity.
"Also it becomes mandatory as the self-assessment of filing property tax remains doubtful and people are not giving actual measurement of their constructed properties," he added.
When told that the timing of the survey might raise brows as the Lok Sabha polls were near, he said, "I don't think it is a political decision. But the government will have to take a firm stand to meet the target and get actual details of the properties."
Once the date of filing the tax was over, the date of the survey will be announced, he said, adding, "The government may impose heavy penalties on erring taxpayers if the details of their properties were not found correct."
Talking to HT, tax consultant and advocate Kamal Anand said, "In the self-assessment, people may evade tax on their properties as some of them do not give actual details of their constructed floors for which they have not taken approval. But, filing property tax return was the best way for them to get their properties approved."
An official at the Sangrur municipal committee said, "As the government has not announced a proper mechanism to assess the property tax which varies from floor to floor, people hesitate to give actual details of their property to evade taxes."
The government is planning to mop up nearly Rs 1,000 crore by strictly implementing the property tax. The zoning in the towns and cities has been done on the prevailing collector rates to calculate the tax.
But the people in small cities and towns are complaining that the collector rates decided by the government are much higher than the market value. This is becoming the biggest hurdle for the government to collect the actual tax from the people, who are trying to find out ways to evade it.