The Greater Chennai Corporation has been pushing this proposal since 2015, which will soon come into effect as the Municipal Administration Minister S P Velumani had recently tabled a bill in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, seeking an amendment to the Chennai City Municipal Corporation Act, 1919, to bring into effect the penalty and incentive conditions.
Currently, the Corporation has no penalty clause for property tax defaulters, who often pay after the deadline has long gone.
“For those who pay property tax within 15 days from the date of commencement of half-year, we have proposed an incentive of five per cent – not exceeding Rs 5,000.
For defaulters, two per cent of simple interest on the amount will be levied. This is important because once the legislation is in place, Corporation will have the leverage to deal with defaulters,” said a senior Corporation official.
The official added that the incentives will not really affect the Corporation’s property tax revenue.
“It’s better to have such measures than nothing. The incentive will push more people to pay on time, as they would save some money. The penalty will be a two per cent simple interest – not a compound interest format that several other government departments follow,” said the official.
In the area under the Greater Chennai Corporation, there are 12,14,823 property tax assessees and for the year 2017-18, Rs 720.72 crore was collected. With the civic body setting an ambitious target of Rs 1,200 crore property tax collection for 2018-19, several measures – like the GIS mapping and door-todoor survey – are being employed.
“These will help us track unassessed or underassessed properties, ensuring that Corporation gets the revenue that it is entitled to – even without a revision of property tax rates,” added the official.
Many cities have already incentivised ‘early bird’ payment of property tax. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has been following this model successfully for the last few years.