While 2013 marked the beginning of the BMC’s property tax regime based on capital value, unauthorised constructions and slums in the city are likely to receive their property tax bills for payment in the next financial year.
BMC officials said although it took three years to roll out the taxes for authorised constructions in the city, the model of taxation for illegal structures is yet to be prepared. “We are trying to issue the bills as soon as possible but it is taking time as the modalities are still being worked out,” additional municipal commissioner Rajiv Jalota said Thursday.
Another senior civic official from the assessment and collection department said it was also likely that the bills issued next year would be with retrospective effect for four years since the 2010 fiscal. “As per the Act, these structures will have to pay thrice the tax amount assessed as penalty for their illegal status. These are some of the details we are working out. The study is being carried out by the department internally,” the official said.
The corporation has enlisted the help of the economics department of Mumbai University to conduct a study on taxation in slum areas. Officials said slum residents would not have to bear the burden of additional new taxes with retrospective effect from 2010. Revenue collection from slum areas, which constitutes over 60 per cent of Mumbai’s total population, is estimated to bring in roughly Rs 1,000 crore for BMC.
“As per the law, the municipal body must collect tax from all structures in the city - be it legal or unauthorised. It will take six months to conduct the study and another six months to form the policy for implementation based on the findings. When taxing slums, we have to take into account that the amenities available to them are of a different standard. So they should pay accordingly,” Jalota said.
Apart from a thorough research of the slum areas and probable methods of taxation, MU is expected to study the tax models for slums in other parts of the world and suggest a new system that can be incorporated in Mumbai. “Manual collection would need more manpower, which BMC cannot spare. We will either have to appoint a collection agency or look for other means of collection, such as through phone bills,” a senior official said.