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GHMC to reassess fine on property tax

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The Hindu        18.05.2017 

GHMC to reassess fine on property tax

Money matters:People paying property tax at Abids parking complex of GHMC in Hyderabad.FILE Photo  

Deviating from rules many building owners imposed 100% penalty

The haste with which penalty was levied on unauthorised constructions during property tax assessment of the last financial year has put Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation(GHMC) in a spot.

After being flooded with complaints from citizens, the Property Tax wing recently sent a circular to all zonal offices to reassess the property and address the grievances of those who had objected to the ‘unfair penalties’ slapped on them. Though the penalty slabs for unauthorised construction are 25%, 50% and 100% of the total property tax for minor to major deviations, the valuation officials had imposed a penalty of 100% in many cases without properly studying the legal status of the properties.

400 complaints

In Malkajgiri Circle alone, more than 400 complaints were received in the last one month and it was found that many of the complainants were right and the penalties were later reduced.

“Each case is different and various parameters have to be considered before deciding on a penalty. In some cases, the first few floors may be authorised but another floor or room might be illegal.

Some may even take up unauthorised construction after regularising the property and show the documents only to fool the officials,” said a senior officer of the GHMC property tax wing adding that field level officers did not have an easy task.

Penalty clause

“We are aware that some buildings which have been constructed before 2013 were penalised 100% even though the rule says a maximum of only 25% can be levied. Similarly, the officers in a gated community imposed 100% penalty for all the houses without verifying the documents. In a month’s time, all the complaints will be attended to”, the officer said.

Some of the valuation officers blamed the residents for not showing the documents when asked, forcing them to impose the maximum fine.

Some of the owners of old buildings had lost their original documents making it more complicated to assess the extent of violation, they added.