The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has collected property tax of over Rs 1,503.13 crore for the fiscal year 2020-21 up till March 25. Despite the COVID-19 induced pandemic, this is reported to be the first time that the GHMC has crossed the Rs 1,500 crore mark.
The GHMC has set a target of Rs 1,900 crore for the fiscal year and with a few more days of collection left for the year end, the local body hopes to get closer to its target. In the fiscal year 2019-20, the GHMC had managed to collect a total of Rs 1,472 crore in property tax.
A total of 16 lakh residents under the GHMC limits are due to pay property tax and officials have said that so far a total of 11.73 lakh people have paid. Failure to remit the property tax before April 1, 2021 will attract late fees of 21% of the original tax amount. The GHMC officials have undertaken a door-to-door campaign to urge citizens to pay the property tax and avoid the penalty.
Arrangements have been made to pay property tax online, or at e-Seva centres, municipal circle offices or through bill collectors. Due to the pandemic, the property tax collection seemed much lower than the previous years but with programmes like One Time Settlement (OTS) and Early Bird Schemes, the GHMC managed record collections.
With the aim of increasing property tax collections, the cash-strapped GHMC started the OTS scheme, which offers a 90% rebate on arrears of accumulated interest if the arrears are cleared by the property owners at one go. This was done to ensure that at least the principal amount is cleared along with 10% of the interest.
The GHMC had also given residential property owners a 50% relief against annual property tax of up to Rs 15,000 for the fiscal year 2020-2021.