The north corporation, facing severe shortage of funds, came up on Tuesday with three major tax proposals in its budget for 2018-19. If the standing committee and the House pass these proposals, the corporation will not only be able to collect more property tax but also have two new revenue resources in professional and betterment taxes.
The budget, presented in the standing committee by commissioner Madhup Vyas, proposes to increase the property tax rate by up to 8%. In place of the current tax slabs as per area categories (A-H), a single slab of 15% has been proposed for residential properties and that of 20% for commercial ones. The rebate on one-time payment of property tax by June 30 is also likely to be reduced to 10% from the current 15%.
Although several residents expressed unhappiness, corporation officials said the tax hike was long overdue as it was last increased in 2004 and the final tax amount depends on various other factors as well.
The corporation has also proposed to collect professional tax, as per Delhi Municipal Corporation (DMC) Act 1957, in the range of Rs 1,200 to Rs 2,500 from everybody earning Rs 2.5 lakh or above annually. The corporation can impose the tax on the citizens over and above the stipulated income tax but they can demand rebate in the I-T amount. “In Karnataka, Gujarat, Kerala, Sikkim, Telangana and a couple of other states, professional tax is levied,” said Vyas.
As per the betterment tax proposal, if the corporation constructs a foot-over bridge or a park in any colony, it will collect the additional tax from the property owners at 15% of the property tax amount they pay. An official claimed that it was perfectly within the recommendations of the second and third Delhi finance commissions and is sanctioned by DMC Act as such developments would increase urban land values in those areas. Similar taxes are levied in several cities, including Hyderabad and Mumbai.
The commissioner said, “The new taxes are likely to generate Rs 550 cr annually. This will help us become self-reliant by the end of 2018-19 and improve our financial health, leading to improvement in the services.” With the next civic elections being almost five years away, chances are the ruling BJP councillors won’t aggressively oppose the moves and the proposals might sail through.
The corporation will set up a special cell to work out the details and seek help of the I-T department to get details of individuals with taxable income. The chairman of the standing committee, Tilak Raj Kataria, said the interests of the people would be kept in mind while discussing the budget. Rakesh Kumar, AAP councillor and leader of opposition, said, “We will not allow the proposals to be implemented at any cost.”