The Rawalpindi Excise and Taxation Department on Saturday sealed a branch of National Bank of Pakistan, a petrol pump run by Water and Power Authority (WAPDA) and one of its offices for not clearing property tax dues.
In a grand swoop against defaulters, taxation officials sealed the WAPDA’s petrol pump in Satellite Town for not paying taxes worth Rs1,47,000. They also sealed a WAPDA office and an apartment in D-Block in Satellite Town for not clearing dues worth Rs323,000. The officials also sealed the NBP’s branch on 6th Road for not pay Rs283,000 in property tax.
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Similarly, the department also sealed 24 private properties in different areas of the city for failing to pay property taxes.
Rawalpindi Excise and Taxation Department Deputy Director Aurangzeb Khan told The Express Tribune that the department was determined to achieve the target of collecting property taxes worth Rs1.2 billion for the fiscal year 2015-2016.
He said that the taxation department has already achieved 80 per cent of the total property tax target.
Answering a question, the deputy director said that the department issues notices to tax payers to clear dues before any action was taken against them. He said that the sealed offices would only be allowed to re-open once they cleared their outstanding dues against the taxation department.
The official said that 30 property inspectors have been given the task to collect taxes and dues in the Rawalpindi city. He said that the Rawalpindi taxation department was ahead of all districts in the province in collecting property taxes.
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Answering a question about legal issues pertaining to tax collection, Khan said that many people have approached courts to obtain stay orders against the department. He said that the department was taking up cases in courts while expediting its campaign against defaulters.
He said that most cases in courts have been from the Pindora locality near Islamabad as dozens of people have approached courts against collection of property taxes from Pindora. He said that the litigants have claimed that their locality falls in territorial jurisdiction of Islamabad and not Rawalpindi.
Sharing the property tax policy, Khan said that his department collects taxes after evaluation of properties in the light of the notification by the provincial government. He said that the government has exempted houses on five marlas or less from property tax. He said that the government has also given an exemption of Rs12, 500 to widows owning a house. The Punjab government has also given a tax exemption to government servants living in their own houses.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2016.
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