For the 2021-22 financial year, the Kochi Corporation expects to collect ₹154 crore as property tax, an increase of ₹24 crore compared to the demand of ₹130 crore for the 2020-21 financial year.
The figure is also a good ₹40 crore above the estimate of ₹114 crore for the 2019-20 financial year. The revised property tax is to be paid retrospectively from 2016 onwards, and the corporation began to issue notices on revision to property owners towards the end of 2019, possibly accounting for the increase in the estimated tax collection.
Opposition councillors pointed out on Monday that property tax collection for the current financial year stood only at ₹56.35 crore, only a fraction of the demand of nearly ₹130 crore. Similarly, the demand for profession tax for this year was ₹47 crore, while collection amounted only to around ₹17.63 crore till January 31, according to figures with UDF councillor Henry Austin. Against a rent demand of ₹9.14 crore, only ₹3.14 crore has been collected.
Poor tax collection despite the higher estimate for the year will leave the corporation with a deficit, UDF councillors said. The budget document mentions that revenue receipts are at ₹652.68 crore, as against a higher revenue expenditure of ₹731.64 crore, leaving a revenue deficit of around ₹80 crore, they said. Factoring in the capital revenue and expenditure, a surplus of ₹37 crore was presented on Saturday.
Increasing property tax collection will remain a pipe dream for the corporation, UDF councillor V.K. Minimol said.
LDF councillor R. Ratheesh said the lack of digitisation at the corporation contributed to the revenue leakage. A centralised online system implemented through the e-governance project will improve financial management, he added.
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