Raising the bar against the new capital-value-based property tax regime, around 250 civil society organizations came together to form Pattana Pourasanghala Aikya Vedika, or United Front of Urban Civil Societies, to lobby the government.
The decision emerged on Sunday in a virtual meeting with representatives of civil society organizations from the 13 districts.
The meeting was facilitated by the Taxpayers Association (TPA), Vijayawada; Visakhapatnam Apartments Welfare Association (VARWA), Federation of Grand Visakha Colonial Welfare Associations (NIVAS) and PA Urban Citizens Federation (APUCF).
“Against the Constitution”
While former trade union secretary and social activist EAS Sarma was named honorary president of the united front, MLC KS Lakshman Rao was named president.
Speaking on the occasion, Sarma said levying a property tax based on capital value was unconstitutional. He said it was not fair for governments to exempt corporate organizations from multiple taxes and charge the common public.
He called on the people to join hands and fight against policies pursued by governments unilaterally without involving citizens.
Mr. Lakshman Rao said that the implementation of the new tax regime, without the participation of the State Finance Commission and without discussion in the Legislative Council, was unconstitutional.
Sunkara Rajendra Prasad, member of the PA State Bar Council, said property tax based on capital value is another form of income tax and puts a heavy burden on taxpayers.
He said there was no proper channel for people to raise questions against an order, and objections raised so far have not been addressed.
The new organization decided to explore legal options to counter the new tax regime, apart from increasing pressure on the government through the popular movement.
District and city level JACs would be formed and representations would be submitted to all elected officials and relevant officials across the state.
Demands from the front included the withdrawal of the new tax regime and the user charge on garbage collection, and the review of the tax on vacant land.
APUCF Moderator Ch. Babu Rao, TPA Secretary MV Anjaneyulu, NIVAS General Secretary P. Narayana Murthy, and VARWA General Secretary BB Ganesh attended the meeting.