Monday, June 15, 2009

Pay your property tax online in Bangalore Now

Starting July, you can pay your property tax online! No more standing in 

queues and waiting for assistance at help 
centres. Pay your tax using VISA/Mastercard 
online without incurring any extra charge for the card itself. More options, more forms and easy ways -- it's going to be less taxing for those already on the taxpayers' list, says the BBMP. 

The online system will be in place for the next `block period' (2009-10), which begins on July 1. 

"We took the decision while discussing the action plan for 2009-10 at a meeting of revenue officers with outgoing commissioner S Subramanya on Wednesday," BBMP deputy commissioner (resources) U A Vasanth Rao said. 

"We'll also hold training sessions before the system becomes operational in full capacity," he added. 

By going online, the Palike hopes to redress many tax issues of the current block period. Reducing manual process, extending services to property owners outside the city and accepting only completely filled forms are some corrective measures. 

The new system will also have a provision for taxpayers who want to pay by cheque. They can do so by downloading the filled-up form and submitting it at the respective help centres. 

The online module is being developed by the National Informatics Centre and IDBI bank has agreed to provide the `payment gateway' free of any extra charge on the card user. 

This is unlike the system currently followed in Chennai, Hyderabad and Delhi. Two new forms 

The new `block period' will also have two kinds of forms available online. One is `Form IV' for properties with no changes in built-up area or property usage, and `Form V' for those with changes in these parameters. 

"Taxpayers will have to use the appropriate form. But with the property database getting updated, the software should continuously update the taxpayer database," Vasanth Rao explained. 

How it works 

-- One can opt to pay online through a link on BBMP website ( 

-- Enter your application number in the box and get access to details of previous tax paid 

-- Fill up mandatory fields along with the tax calculated and submit it 

-- Pay your tax online using VISA/Mastercard 

-- Download the acknowledgement receipt on submission. A hard copy of the same will also be sent by BBMP 

-- If you want to pay by cheque, download the filled-up form and submit it along with the cheque at your help centre

Incentives to protect heritage properties In Mumbai

In a bid to rein in the steady metamorphosis of bungalows into highrises, art deco single-screen theatres into multiplexes and quaint two-storeyed buildings in South Mumbai into towers with glass and steel façades, the state government is planning to award incentives to owners of listed heritage properties. 

The Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee is studying ways to reward conservation of the remaining vestiges of city’s architectural history. This may range from waivers on property tax, entertainment tax rebate in case of theatres, soft loans or grants for restoration of the property, declaring special zones for heritage, liberal use of heritage TDR or giving income tax benefits on money spent on conserving such properties. 

“Under the current heritage regulatory framework, there is a substantial liability on the home owner once his property is listed as a heritage structure with no benefit for him,” said Pankaj Joshi, executive director of Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI). 

On instructions from the state Urban Development Department, the heritage committee is now studying reports submitted by the Bombay Environmental Action Group (BEAG) and another by a committee under former heritage committee chief DM Sukthankar so as to make heritage conservation viable in Mumbai. “We are compiling extracts from each of the regulations to prepare revised heritage regulations for the city,” said heritage committee chief DK Afzalpurkar. 

The BEAG report, for instance, recommends the practice in Hyderabad where no building permission is issued if the owner deliberately allows his property to deteriorate and crumble eventually. “In order to make it viable for owners, we have also recommended that they be allowed to have commercial establishments in residential zones as long as the listed structure is maintained as it is,” said Shyam Chainani of BEAG. 

City-based historian Sharada Dwivedi points out that when the heritage listing was initially done, several privately owned heritage structures were listed as grade 3 just because the owners were financially incapable of maintaining the high standards of façade and interiors meant for grade 2 structures. “Today many of these have been bought over by builders and razed down.”