Monday, July 22, 2024

GMC Struggles to Recover Over Rs 100 Crore in Property Tax Arrears

Megha Nidhi Dahal, the Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC), disclosed on Sunday that the corporation is confronted with the challenge of recovering arrears exceeding Rs 100 crore in property tax for the current financial year. Many taxpayers in the city have accumulated unpaid dues over several years, prompting GMC to issue more than 50 warrants against these defaulters. Dahal emphasized that if the outstanding tax is not settled promptly, the corporation will resort to seizing the properties of these defaulters.

GMC has set a deadline of March 31, and failing payment by this date, the corporation plans to take possession of the houses and recover the outstanding tax by selling valuable assets found within these households. The warrants, totaling around Rs 2 crore in recoverable tax, have been issued as part of an initiative to enhance property tax collection and crack down on defaulters. Guwahati Municipal Corporation oversees more than 3 lakh property taxpayers in the city.

Dahal highlighted the legal authority provided by sections 189(1) and 189(2) of the Guwahati Municipal Act, 1971, empowering the corporation to take stringent actions, including attaching properties and clearing dues. While the corporation has implemented measures to facilitate tax filing, such as a user-friendly website and the deployment of “Pouro Sakhis” across wards for doorstep tax collection, Dahal expressed concern that many residents are still reluctant to pay taxes, possibly expecting exemption from necessary actions.

Despite efforts to encourage residents through tax exemptions, such as last year’s offer to waive penalties for those paying at least 50% of unpaid taxes, the desired outcome has not been achieved. Dahal stressed that property tax collection is a top priority for GMC, as the funds collected play a crucial role in supporting the corporation’s developmental and official initiatives. The grants received from the Centre are directly tied to tax collection, and any shortfall could impact the overall development of the city. The warrants and associated measures underscore GMC’s commitment to fiscal discipline and ensuring that property taxes are collected to fund essential civic projects and services.

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