Record property tax revenue, but still far from the target

BBMP’s property tax revenue in 2021-22 exceeded the all-time high, but eventual numbers would still be significantly below target.

As of March 26, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has mopped up Rs 2,950 crore in property tax and hopes to cross the Rs 3,000 crore mark in the final days of the current financial year, about 5% more than the figures from last year. However, this would be well below the Rs 4,000 crore target that the BBMP had hoped to collect in property tax payments in 2021-22.

The initial target was Rs 3,500 crore, but the BBMP revised it upwards as it needed funds for projects added to the budget within days of its presentation.

Property tax revenue was Rs 2,828 crore in 2020-21 and Rs 2,746 crore in 2019-20.

Also Read – Land tax collection in Bengaluru is lower than in Mysuru and Dakshina Kannada, according to government data

The decent property tax revenue in 2021-22 comes despite businesses in Bengaluru being hit by two waves of Covid-19 in the outgoing fiscal year.

Sources said the revenue wing of the BBMP was confident of crossing the Rs 3,000 crore mark in the next five days, saying many owners were paying in the past few days. He also plans to organize a meeting with the association of hoteliers to encourage hotel owners to pay property tax. Many hotel owners have delayed paying property tax in hopes of getting a waiver from the government as their business has suffered from the pandemic.

Although property tax is one of the main sources of revenue for the civic body, it has not been able to introduce measures to increase the tax net. Elected officials estimate that at least five lakh properties within the BBMP boundaries are still outside the property tax bracket.

A senior BBMP official believes that a property tax collection of Rs 3,500 crore is “fully achievable”. “We are bringing reforms. We have organized no less than 20 khata melas in apartment complexes over the past two months. There are also plans to link the databases of different agencies to verify properties that fall outside tax jurisdiction,” the official explained.

Srikanth Viswanathan, who heads the non-profit Janaagraha Center for Citizenship and Democracy, praised the BBMP for record property tax collection but suggested institutional reforms to improve the system. The civic body, he said, had not done enough to study the database of the Stamp and Registry Service, the BWSSB and Bescom which had more properties within the BBMP boundaries than those under the tax net.

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