LAHORE: Government of Punjab’s Excise, Taxation and Narcotics Control Department has introduced a property tax self-assessment portal to facilitate the 1.9 million property taxpayers of the province. Created in collaboration with The Punjab Urban Unit (USPMU) and the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB), the online portal will in addition to providing automated tax assessments, also enable taxpayers to report system issues, edit or update data and file complaints.
According to officials at the excise department, the portal, which has been developed as part of the Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar’s Digitalisation Policy, will enable users to utilise it up to five properties under their name. “The portal aims to prevent attempts of corruption, fraud and tax evasion by minimising any direct contact between taxpayers and excise officials.”
Moreover, the portal also contains data and photos of over 4 million properties surveyed by the Excise and USPMU authorities. From the total, owners of 1.9 million properties are taxpayers while the remaining 21 million properties, mostly housing units of up to five marlas, are being given tax rebates and discounts on various basis by the Punjab government.
There have been constant public complaints about excise officials demanding bribes from citizens for evaluating property taxes and preparing tax challans. Taxpayers have also complained about excise officials causing unnecessary delays in making changes to property records and filing tax objection requests and tax invoices. However, the new portal will allow taxpayers to seamlessly view and revise to their property records, including addition or removal of tenants, as well as upload relevant photos and documents, using the login credentials provided at the time of registration.
Applications made through the portal will reach the relevant tax circle inspector and will also keep the concerned ETO informed about the progress. Upon review, excise officials will reply the applicant on their registered email address and the applicant will be able to fill and update his/her property details in the tax return form (PT-04) via the automated self-assessment system on the portal.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Additional Director General Excise for Punjab Shakeel-ur-Rehman Khan, said that it is for the first time in Pakistan’s history that the excise department has come up with such a modern and comprehensive portal.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2020.