Five lakh property owners paying less tax in Chennai

Property tax assessment for at least 5 lakh city buildings, both residential and commercial, has been estimated to be done using false information on the dimensions of the building, causing a loss to the exchequer.

The Greater Chennai Corporation has started a drive to calculate the actual property tax to be demanded from the owners of the houses and shops that have failed to furnish correct information about the dimensions of the buildings.

The study of such underassessed properties was started following a drone survey carried out across the city. “The drone survey has been completed. The vetting of the digital images by defence forces and intelligence agencies was completed this week. We will start using the digital images for improving property tax collection,” said an official.

According to data collected using drones and door-to-door collection, most houses in the city were found to be underassessed for property tax, which means the property owner would pay lesser amount as property tax. For example, a study of houses in ward 57 in Sowcarpet and ward 135 and 136 in West Mambalam showed that 60% of houses and shops were underassessed. At least 40% of the buildings have more than 100% underassessment. For instance example, an owner of a 2000 sq ft property has declared that his property is less than 1000 sq ft in area.

Revised tax

“The owners will be asked to pay the revised property tax after making the assessment again,” said an official. The Corporation has already gained ₹18 crore from the drive. Following the drone survey, the door-to-door survey was also completed in 97 of the 200 wards in the city. Work on door-to-door survey will be completed in 11 wards shortly. “Increase in revenue has been reported in 34 wards in areas such as Royapuram, Thiru-Vi-Ka, Tondiarpet and Adyar,” said an official.

As many as 1.3 lakh properties, trades, companies and professionals have also been found to be unassessed in the city. More areas would be covered shortly, said an official.

The Corporation has obtained satellite images from the National Remote Sensing Centre with a resolution of 30 cm, in 20 wards located in a radius of 5 km from the airport. “In drone images we get 5 cm resolution. The drone images are not permitted because of strategic reasons in many areas,” said an official.

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