‘Backdoor levies to push up your property tax outgo’

Thane: Residents may have to pay nearly 34% increase in their next fiscal despite the annual budget presented has not proposed any hike. The reason for the rise, claim officials, is the non-implementation of the increased taxation despite an approval in the present fiscal.
Officials informed the hike approved by the general body for the current fiscal was not executed in the current fiscal and may now reflect in the bills generated for the next fiscal. and have expressed their ire over this issue and have criticized the administration and the ruling party over this ‘discreet’ taxation.

The hike was first mentioned in the Tuesday general body meeting wherein leader requested the administration over reducing the property tax hike to 10%. The surprised house however questioned this hike claiming having no idea when the same had come for approval and got approved. The proposal (copy is with this paper) speaks of a hike spread across various components of the property tax including water, sewerage, and road tax cover for both residential and non-residential properties.

The hike for residential properties is from 32% to 66% while that for commercial properties is from 46% to 77% as per the document.

A group of citizen activists on Wednesday rubbished the ploy of the administration by waiving off any taxes when it was discreetly planning to load residents with the same. They alleged the administration had claimed of increasing the property tax revenue next year from Rs 500 cr to Rs 600cr target by improving collections while it was actually a backdoor levy.

“The commissioner and the house need to give complete clarity on this issue. The administration, if at all has to enforce the hike, should reduce the quantum by 25% for each of the sectors,” said activist Unmesh Bagwe.

Bagwe along with fellow activists from the Thane chapter of the also questioned the implementation of the solutions planned for alleviating the traffic menace here.

“There seems to be no immediate plan of action to tackle traffic congestion in the city as all the remedial measures may take several years to get functional by when the volume of traffic would have escalated already,” complained Bagwe.

Meanwhile an official from the property tax department said there was a delay in the implementation of the tax hike last year as by the time the final orders came in, the first batch of bills had already been dispatched. “The same is likely to be implemented next year but a final call will be taken only by the municipal commissioner,” informed the official requesting anonymity.

The administration has tried to hoodwink residents by saying there will be no tax hike when infact it has secretly made preparations to levy the increased duty from next year. Such misleading tactics will not be entertained and we will seek an explanation

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