Jammu: The government Thursday said that Jammu and Kashmir is among the last states and union territories in the country to levy property taxes.
An official spokesman in a statement issued here said in a meeting chaired by Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta to deliberate upon misinformation created regarding property tax in Jammu and Kashmir, it was clarified that all the poor, marginalised having small houses having built-up area up to 1000 square feet have been exempted by the government from paying any property tax to be levied from April onwards this year.
The spokesman said that during the meeting, it was informed that levy of property tax was essential part of urban sector reforms.
The meeting was informed that J&K is one of the last states or union territories to levy property tax and non-imposition of the tax is depriving local bodies to become self-sustaining.
“Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) are required to render multiple civic services in their jurisdiction and need resources. The levy of this tax will improve the financial health of these institutions and improve services, besides creating employment,” the meeting was told.
Chief Secretary Mehta directed the Deputy Commissioners (DCs) to create awareness in their areas by giving such real examples of calculation of the tax for different properties in their ULBs of the district.
He said that the misinformation created among the people should be addressed by taking them along.
Mehta asked them to involve the elected representatives and civil society members in dissemination of the information and actual objectives of imposing this tax here.
On the occasion, the chief secretary also impressed upon the officers to create awareness among public for removing misconceptions.
He told them to create a helpline for the masses, which would disseminate correct information about this matter.
The chief secretary urged them to come up with a simple ‘Property Tax calculator’ for people so that they themselves are able to assess the actual amount they are liable to pay.
He emphasised on the fact that people should be made aware that it is not permitted to direct ULB resources for any other purposes.
During the meeting it was mentioned that the J&K economy had been doing well and unemployment rate as per the data of the Government of India (GoI) had shown a healthier trend.
“The per capita income of people of J&K is amongst better states and UTs,” the meeting was told.
Explaining the methodology of levying the property tax in J&K, Principal Secretary Housing and Urban Development Department (H&UDD) Rajesh Prasad said that there was no tax liability for those having built-up area of their houses less than 1000 sq ft.
He said that the proportion of taxes was considerably lesser here than that levied in other parts of the country.
The meeting was informed that all places of worship including Masjids, shrines, churches, Gurudwaras, temples, burial grounds, and cremation grounds were exempt from payment of property tax.
It was informed that the tax was proposed to be levied at just 5 percent of Taxable Annual Value (TAV) of the property in case of a residential property and at 6 percent of TAV in case of non-residential property.
It was apprised that the tax rates, even in the corporations were one of the lowest in the country, almost half that of Himachal Pradesh, and one fourth to one sixth, overall, of other progressive states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Delhi.
The meeting was informed that the tax to be paid in municipal committees would be much lower than that of municipal corporations and that there would be no property tax in rural areas.
It was informed that the property tax was to be assessed and paid on annual basis.
Commissioner of Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC), Rahul Yadav said that the tax was progressive in nature with low tax on smaller assets and was linked to circle rates – lower the circle rate, lower the tax liability of the owner.
It was informed that the tax also takes into account factors like age of the property, usage type, and construction type to arrive on TAV for realistic capturing of value of property.
The meeting was informed that cases illustrating such as property tax to be levied on a 35-year-old residential house with a built up area of 4500 sq ft in Gandhi Nagar is assessed to be Rs 5758 for one year.
It was informed that similarly, a 25-year-old residential house in Sarwal with built up area of 2000 sq ft would have to pay only Rs 1063 as property tax.
The meeting was told that a five-year-old residential house with built up area of 3500 sq ft in Channi area would be assessed to Rs 5374 property tax for one year.
It was informed that small shops would have to pay very small amounts with the example of a small shop in the old city area of Jammu with area of about 200 sq ft, which is only 0-20 years old would be liable to pay tax of only Rs 838 per annum.
The meeting was also informed that the property tax paid by people would be used in their own areas.
It was told that the accumulations of the tax money would be collected by the ULBs, retained by them, and used for their development needs exclusively.
The meeting was informed that the tax to be collected from the people would be spent only for their betterment, improving their quality of life.
Regarding its implications it was said that the property tax was to be levied annually and could be paid in two equal installment.
The meeting was informed that 10 percent rebate could be availed by early payment of the property tax.
It was said that the payment of property tax would also facilitate common people in availing various facilities and services through their concerned local bodies with the expenditure of funds collected by levying this tax.
Additional Chief Secretary, Home; Principal Secretary, H&UDD; ADGP Kashmir and Jammu; Deputy Commissioners; SSPs; Commissioners of Srinagar and Jammu Municipal Corporations also attended the meeting.