Friday, September 23, 2011

Property Tax for Mumbaikars simplified - pay online

Since last year, my housing society discontinued the practice of paying property tax on behalf of the residents and now hands our individual property tax bills to us to take care of. I have been once to the local Municipal Office, and while it's not as bad an experience as I thought it would be, it does take up half the day till I reach, park the car, stand in a queue and get the job done.

Thanks to my dad, I discovered the online property tax payment facility offered by the BMC. You can find it here.

To enter the site, you just need to enter the SAC number (usually an alphanumeric code) printed on your property tax bill. 

The payment gateway accepts payment through credit card or netbanking from a whole list of nationalised banks, but not from too many private ones. However, you can use the ItzCash or BillDesk facilities to pay through any credit card or netbanking account. A small service fee is levied per transaction, but in these days, with the petrol prices what they are, you would spend as much just getting to your nearest ward office. Not to mention, the working hours that you would end up spending there.

I have used this facility to make my last two payments and both have gone through smoothly, with printable e-receipts that I can download and save. Be aware that the payment gateway is moody and acts up sometimes, but works in the end.

If your property tax is overdue, a penalty may be chargeable and you will not be allowed to make the payment online. Then, you have no choice but to visit the local office.

It's a fantastic convenience to be able to avoid visiting a government office and it's a pity that more people do not avail of it. DNA reported in April that only 1% of property tax bills in Mumbai are paid through the BMC website. Of course, discomfort of most people with online payment is cited as the reason for this, but equally I think people are unaware that this option is given by the BMC. The site shifted to a new URL sometime ago and I had to spend half hour digging through the BMC website to find the new link. I could not find it by googling and that's the reason for this post - to save someone else's time!

Update : A new post is up on this subject. The method and way of payment has changed slightly.