Cantonment trains guns at tax defaulters

Board plans intense crackdown after March 31 to meet its target.

By Author  |  Published: 18th Mar 2017  12:59 am

Hyderabad: With just a little more than two weeks left for the financial year to end, the Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) is racing against time to meet its target in property tax collection.

With officials having been able to collect only Rs 27.4 crore against a target of Rs.41 crore, the Board is now planning an intense crackdown on defaulters after March 31, with legal steps including attachment of properties being planned.

“We had issued notices and public notifications asking all defaulters to pay their dues by March 15. There are still many who haven’t responded and the crackdown will be on them. Attachment of properties of defaulters is certainly on the cards because they were given ample time to clear dues,” a senior SCB official said.

Most of the defaulters were commercial property owners, the official said, adding that a majority of the residential owners had cleared their dues in November-December, after the SCB had announced it would accept pending taxes in demonetised notes.

Though the total amount of pending property tax from commercial property owners was not available, the official said many of them had dues ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh, and some even higher.

The Board’s tax collection wing had started sealing properties of defaulters from January, with several shops and premises being sealed in the drive.

One of the largest such sealing exercise was on January 31, when the premises of 29 shops at Tadbun Crossroads were sealed. Most of these have by now cleared the dues and got their shops reopened, the official said, adding that similar action was continuing.

It has not been long since the SCB got its property tax collection act on track. In 2011-2012, the total collection on account of property tax was a mere Rs 8 crore. This went up to Rs 9.34 crore the next fiscal, and in 2013-2014, when the Board began getting tough on the issue, it shot up to Rs 21.05 crore. The Rs 30.81 crore collected in 2015-2016 is the highest it has ever collected.