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‘MMC does not have shops’ area record to collect sanitary tax’

Margao: Although Margao Municipal Council has introduced a new system for sanitary tax collection based on the area of the premises, it does not have any record of the area of the various establishments in its jurisdiction as a result of which the council stands to lose lakhs of rupees as tax revenue.“It is indeed unfortunate that the Council does not have this record,” conceded Chief Officer Agnelo Fernandes who has recently taken over. However, he hastened to add that he is in the process of preparing inspection teams that will assess the area of each and every establishment in the town.At present the Council is collecting sanitation tax based on the area stated by the tax payer. “If a difference is found following the site inspection, then the balance amount will be adjusted with the next year’s tax payment,” said the chief officer.
While in June this year the Taxation Department carried out a survey of all three markets to identify the establishments doing business, it was only to identify the number of establishments and did not check the area of each establishment.Incidentally in reply to an application made under Right To Information, the MMCstated that while there are 715 offices, 13,631 shops, 49 small tea/coffee shops and 238 restaurants registered with it, the area of each of these establishments is not available with it. “The municipality is also losing revenue as there is no record of the number of advertising boards or sign boards put up by the shop keepers,” said the chief officer adding that the investigation team will also prepare a list of such boards put up by the shopkeepers so that they can be taxed for it.It may be recalled that some Margao residents going under the banner of Honest Taxpayers have filed a writ petition against the MMC with regards to the sanitation tax praying that the tax be quashed. [H]

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