BMC seizes 17 luxury vehicles from property tax defaulters

BMC seizes 17 luxury vehicles from property tax defaulters

The BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) has built a reputation for itself with regard to confiscating illegal vehicles in the city. In February, BMC made the news for confiscating two helicopters belonging to MESCO Airlines over pending property tax payment of Rs 1.6 crore. 

The authorities have today announced the seizure of several more automobiles, including 17 luxury cars made by brands like Audi and a Mercedes. These vehicles mostly belonged to builders, businessmen, and landlords in the city, the authorities added. The vehicles were seized in an attempt to get the defaulters to clear their property tax dues.

Also Read: BMC Seizes 2 Helicopters For Property Tax Dues

Among those affected by this new wave of vehicle seizures is builder Samir Bhojwani. The seized vehicles from the builder include a Toyota Camry, a Honda Accord, as well as a Hyundai Creta. An Audi owned by the Sai Group has also been seized by the BMC, the civic body mentioned.

The authorities have set a target of Rs 5,400 crore as property tax collection for the 2019-20 financial year. However, it is said that they are still significantly short of the target with only Rs 3,700 crore collected so far. 

“There is no provision to add interest on delayed payment or impose a penalty, so many builders and businessmen deliberately avoid paying property tax till the last moment. We are discussing a policy to penalize such defaulters by imposing fines and levying interest on dues,” a BMC official mentioned.

While the BMC has also contemplated seizing private property like furniture and other household items, the storage of these items is believed to be a concern. Further, land seizures have also failed to be successful given the significant dip in the city’s real estate prices. However, the authorities have reportedly seized 3,179 properties from the defaulters so far. 

Keeping the above factors in mind, the BMC has decided to seize luxury cars of tax defaulters so as to encourage them to pay out of fear of public embarrassment. 

Elaborating on its reasoning behind private luxury car seizures, a BMC official said “It is easy to get a base rate for such vehicles from second-hand car dealers and it is also easy to find customers. We have decided to keep such vehicles with us for a week. If a defaulter fails to clear dues during that period, we will auction the vehicle to recover the pending dues.”

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