West Bengal rejigs Kolkata civic body property tax rules, citizens to reap benefits
Here’s some good news if you are 60 or above and own a residential building under the jurisdiction of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC).
The state assembly on Thursday passed the proposal to allow the KMC assessment-collection department to offer a 10% exemption on property tax to those who have crossed 60.
Earlier, only those aged 65 years and above were eligible for the exemption. The civic authorities will implement the scheme from the next financial year.
Reacting to the initiative taken by the state government, a KMC assessment department official said the offer can be extended to senior citizens without hurdles as the civic body had a readymade database.
“We have a database of senior citizens. We will have no problems offering them the exemption once the scheme is implemented,” a KMC revenue department official said on Thursday.
This apart, it has been decided that KMC will have to constitute a committee to review the unit area assessment scheme to give relief to 6.5 lakh property tax payers.
According to a proposal that was passed in the assembly on Thursday, the civic authorities need to constitute a committee that will specify the base unit area value to extend maximum benefit to taxpayers.
According to a KMC revenue department official, the committee will have ample scope to go through the hardships of property owners who have been complaining against a steep hike in the rate of property tax under UAA and take effective steps in the direction of calculating the base unit area value, which is the foundation of determining property tax.
Base unit area value is determined by several factors like location of the property, width of the road, age of the building and the nature of occupancy (residential or commercial). The KMC official said that only a negligible portion of property tax payers had applied for the UAA because of complexity in calculating the base unit area value.
This is not all. The municipal affairs department has empowered the KMC mayorin-council to consider a concession plea from any person unable to pay property tax. They will also take a call on whether the applicant can pay the outstanding amount in installments.
KMC will also be empowered to provide relief to property owners who are preserving ponds, tanks or waterbodies that are a part of their property. The extent of the relief will depend on the quality of preservation of such waterbodies, said a KMC assessment department official.
The state municipal affairs department also sought to give relief to land owners who want to construct houses. A bill passed in the assembly on Thursday will enable the civic body to extend the time frame for commencement of construction from the date of getting the sanction plan approved.
“Earlier, we would ask the applicant to commence construction within two years of getting the sanction plan. Now they will be given a five-year breathing period,” said a KMC buildings department official.