In one of the rarest moves, the civic body governing Pimpri-Chinchwad region of Pune Wednesday started confiscating moveable assets of residents who have the dubious record of defaulting on property tax amounting to Rs 1 lakh or more for years.
Over 8,000 tax defaulters in Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) face the prospect of losing their moveable property like TV, fridge and vehicles.
“We have started the process of confiscating movable property of property tax defaulters,” PCMC Assistant Municipal Commissioner Nilesh Desmmukh told The Indian Express.
Deshmukh said 8,791 residents owe PCMC Rs 1 lakh or more in property tax dues. “These residents have defaulted for years. Notices had been served on them but to no avail. Some citizens have not paid their dues for more than seven years,” he said.
Civic body officials said this was the first such action in the history of PCMC that has a total of around 3 lakh property owners who have defaulted to the tune of Rs 583 crore. In the past, PCMC has initiated action like sealing properties but this is the first time, the civic administration will confiscate movable properties, they said.
Deshmukh said under Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act, there is a provision under which moveable properties can be seized. “The Tax Rules 42 provide for seizure of moveable properties under MMC Act,” he said.
Deshmukh said that they are seizing moveable properties to avoid moving out tax defaulters from the residence in which they are currently staying. “We have sealed over 100 residential flats for non-payment of tax dues. These flats were unoccupied and found to be locked for months. But in the case of occupied flats, we have to evict the inmates. To avoid the situation, we have decided to confiscate the moveable properties of the tax defaulters,” he said.
“This fiscal, we have a target of collecting Rs 1,000 crore in property tax, which is the highest in civic history. So far we have collected over Rs 400 crore,” he said.
The tax department said 26,760 property owners owe more than Rs 50,000 in dues to the PCMC. As many as 1,369 property tax owners owe more than Rs 5 lakh tax dues. 3,850 citizens have not paid tax even once. “We have already sent notices of confiscation to over 39,000 tax defaulters,” Deshmukh said.