Warangal: Self assessment of property tax becomes bane for owners

Greater Warangal Municipal Corporation

Greater Warangal Municipal Corporation 


GWMC imposes hefty penalties for wrong details

Warangal: Lack of awareness over the new Municipalities Act, 2019, and the greed landed some denizens in a hole as they now face hefty penalties.

As per section 94 of the Telangana Municipalities Act, 2019, property owners will have to take up self-assessment of a building for new construction or re-construction, which is not assessed in the municipl records. This self-certification will be submitted to the urban local body (ULB) online. However, the Act envisages that if a person furnishes wrong details to lower property tax amount, that person is liable for penalty - 25 times the actual tax - as per the section 94 of the Act.

Unaware of this, over 5,000 persons in the Greater Warangal Municipal Corporation (GWMC) furnished wrong details of their property to the ULB. It's learnt that the officials who found these deviations during the audit slapped hefty penalties on them, in all accounting to nearly Rs 10 crore.

People living in slums were the most affected by the new Act. The mistakes rolled in the floor space index (FSI) have become a bane for these persons. "Whether the deviations furnished to the ULB were advertent or inadvertent, we imposed penalties as per the Act," officials say.

Talking to The Hans India, Forum for Better Warangal president Pulluru Sudhakar said, "The hefty penalties are beyond the reach of the middle class especially for those living in slums. The onus is on officials to sensitise the people about the new Act at least from now and onwards. The government should waive off the penalties and give another chance to those people who submitted incorrect details on compassionate grounds." The authorities should speak to colony and ward committees and tell them about the changes in the Act and repercussions for the deviations, he added.

When this newspaper tried to enquire about the assessment system, it was apparent that the officials also need orientation on the new Act.

Meanwhile, the GWMC is lagging behind in the collection of property tax for the year 2021-22. The officials collected around 75 per cent of the Rs 73 crore target, this despite the 'early bird scheme'. The GWMC is offering a 5 per cent discount on property tax if they pay before April 30 to the denizens.

Frequent change of guard at the helm of GWMC affairs, shortage of staff and the subdued approach of the officials appears to be the reasons behind the slow pace of tax collection.

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