The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Land tax looms over districts

Calcutta, June 23: The government is scheduled to place in the Assembly tomorrow the West Bengal Land Reforms (Amendment) Bill, which, if passed, will enable it to levy a “land use” tax in both rural and urban areas outside the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) area.

According to the provisions of the bill, all landowners will have to pay taxes for land, either constructed upon or vacant, to the government over and above the existing holding taxes charged by different civic bodies. The rate of the tax will depend on the use of the plot and its location.

A similar bill has been passed empowering the government to levy land tax in CMDA areas.

Land users will have to pay taxes irrespective of whether the land is being used for residential or commercial purposes. But the rate will vary. In villages, the rates are likely to be Rs 20 per decimal (one-hundredth of an acre) for commercial or industrial use and Rs 2 for residential purpose.

In municipal towns and corporation areas (other than CMC), the rate will depend on the category of municipality. For landowners in corporation areas like Chandernagore, Siliguri and Durgapur, the proposed tax is Rs 175 per decimal if the land is being used for commercial purposes and Rs 35 for housing use.

For those under ‘A’ category municipalities, the tax will be Rs 150 (commercial) and Rs 25 (residential). In ‘B’ category, the tax will be Rs 100 and Rs 20. In ‘C’ category, residents will have to pay land tax at a rate of Rs 75 and Rs 15 per decimal.

Officials of the land and land reforms department said earlier there was a system of levying land tax, but as it was very nominal, neither the landowners paid nor did the government show any interest in collecting it.

“Our move is to legalise collection of land tax and enhance the rate. The government can earn a sizeable amount of revenue from the land tax if officers make all efforts,” they said.

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