Observing that Corporation officials were not following uniform yardstick in levying the property tax by charging a higher rate for residential properties and lesser rate for commercial buildings, the Madras High Court on Wednesday raised a volley of questions regarding tax revision in the city.
Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice P Velmurugan made the observations while hearing a PIL seeking to direct the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) to formulate and notify uniform rules and applicable rates for determining property taxes by the assessment authorities.
Successive governments deliberately omitted property tax revision for their political interest because it might affect their electoral fortunes, the petitioner alleged. “As per the statute, if the property tax was revised during 1998, the subsequent revisions could have been during 2003, 2008, 2013 and 2018. The five revisions could have augmented the income of the Corporation,” the petitioner said.
The bench raised questions including the property tax collected pursuant to the revision made in 1998; the yearly collection before revision made in 2018; the amount collected pursuant to the revision made in 2018 onwards; why the government has decided to suspend the tax revision; the number of malls, IT parks and commercial complexes in Chennai and the amount levied on those buildings; the potential property tax collection if the rates were revised in 2003, 2008 and 2013; and the number of cases of levying lesser tax for commercial buildings.
The bench then directed the Corporation Commissioner and Municipal Administration secretary to appear before it on Thursday with answers to the queries.