Itâ€™s time to cheer up Kolkataâ€™s property taxpayers. Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) assessment department has been instructed by municipal commissioner Arnab Roy via circular on April 12, to rely only on computerized data while sending property tax bills to taxpayers. Moreover, the department is also instructed to issue statements along with property tax bills. Pending dues of taxpayers may be cleared through these statements.
As per The Times of India Report: “We have been asked to provide a separate statement showing outstanding dues or zero outstanding dues along with tax bills for 2012-13. This new system will pave the way for minimizing harassment of taxpayers,” a senior KMC assessment department official said.
Taxpayers will also be given the option to obtain a ‘No Outstanding Certificate’ (NOC) from the KMC web portal. “We will introduce the system shortly,” said a KMC assessment department official. The decision was approved at a mayor-in-council meeting.
Roy was shocked to find a large number of complaints from property taxpayers alleging that the KMC assessment department had sent them outstanding bills even after issuing NOCs. Much to the embarrassment of department officials, a case in point came up when Bhowanipore resident Amitava Roy complained that he had paid Rs 20,000 at the KMC headquarters on March 30 and got an NOC from the treasury. However, he was shocked when the department sent him an outstanding bill of Rs 15,000, claiming that the amount was unpaid since the mid-’80s. On verification, it was found that a KMC official of the rank of deputy manager had sent the outstanding bill from the manual register even as the assessment department’s computerized records showed no outstanding against Roy’s premise number. Several such complaints flooded KMC offices located all over the city. As the situation went out of control, the civic body had to open grievance cells for rectification of such anomalies.
After consulting senior KMC officials, property tax experts and legal officials, the municipal commissioner proposed to update computer data on unpaid property tax and do away with manual registers that date back decades. The proposal was sent for mayor Sovan Chatterjee’s approval. After Chatterjee approved and sent it back to the municipal commissioner, the latter issued a circular and asked the assessment department to immediately introduce the system of issuing statements of outstanding tax or zero outstanding along with tax bills.