One of the major revenue sources for the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), property tax, has dropped on account of the pandemic. According to information provided by the BBMP’s Revenue Department, till August 5, it had collected ₹1,804.80 crore by way of property tax. This is nearly ₹165 crore less than the amount collected during the corresponding period last fiscal.

BBMP officials attributed this to the pandemic. Sources told The Hindu that almost all revenue officials had been roped in for COVID-19 duty. “We have not given much attention to augmenting property tax collection since the beginning of this fiscal,” the source said.

Furthermore, the civic body, which gives 5% rebate on property tax payments made during April, extended the rebate period till the end of May. This was because in April, it was able to collect just over ₹400 crore. The total tax collected by May 31 was ₹1,440 crore. The tax collected during the corresponding period last fiscal (2019-20) was ₹1,510.79 crore.

The BBMP has set a target of collecting ₹3,500 crore this year. During the last financial year, it had garnered a total of ₹2,729.77 crore.

BBMP’s Special Commissioner (Revenue) Basavaraj admitted to a slump in tax collection. “Apart from regular activities of issuing notices to those with arrears, we cannot do much else. The department had drawn up an action plan of bringing in more properties under the tax net. However, given the pandemic situation, we are not sure when the action plan can actually be put in place,” he said.

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