House tax negligence and its deplorable rise
I have rented a portion of my house to a garments maker during the year’s 2014-16.The earlier house tax of Rs. 371/- was changed to Rs 1595/- on the grounds of renting the house for commercial purposes. In October 2016, the garments maker vacated the portion. In December, the portion was rented to a Muslim family. Since the tax structure must be changed to residential rates, I applied for the same in January 2017. The process began then and I produced all documents including the Electricity Bill which is the prominent proof saying that the portion of the house is occupied for residential purposes. The Municipality directed me to pay the commercial tax for until April 2017 as the yearly payment cycle ends in that month. The bill collector assured that the change of tax from commercial to residential will be done once the payment is made. As I was adamant on denying his demand for paying the commercial rates even during the residential period of December-April, the change was not made.
What has happened then was improper accounting and negligence in fixing the tax amount. For subsequent periods of 2017 and 2018, the bill collector demands the same unchanged tax amount Rs. 1595/- not the previous tax. He also demanded a re-evaluation of house parameters of length and breadth to calculate freshly on the tax rate. I agreed to that. Even after re-evaluation, the tax amount was not changed. His computers show the previous amount.
In the meantime, in October 2017, the Tamilnadu government ordered for revision of House Tax and Wealth Tax. The tax amount surged and now the bill collector demands Rs. 1836/- for the period of 2017-18. And, this rise affected the house owners in the whole of the Mettur Municipality and also in other parts of the state. People are reluctant to pay the revised tax as the tax was increased in multiple folds. Lots of protests and petitions were filed but in vain. The Commissioner insisted on the increased tax and responded negligibly.
Meanwhile, I paid the Rs 1595/- the outstanding amount for the period of 2016-17 in October 2017 as the bill collector refused to accept water tax. If the water tax was not paid in speculated time, a fine was imposed and supply of water would be stopped.
Now, I am not willing to pay the increased amount of Rs 1836/- for the period 2017-18 and thereafter so as the thousands of people in the township. The municipality threatens the people to pay the revised house tax or otherwise water connection would be cut off to the defaulters.
My experience with the Municipality for transferring or changing the house tax has happened to many house owners in the township. The bill collector comes out with discrete tax amounts for various house owners following no standard methods for calculating taxes. The methods he uses are only in theory.
The government of Tamilnadu and the commissioner of many municipalities are not obliging to the people’s plea in this regard despite many protests. The revised house taxes must be curtailed down to 50% as it was an increase of 200% of the previous tax rate.