As many as 55 property tax defaulters paid up to Rs200,000 in the first two days of a recovery drive, for taxes unpaid for more than 10 years, on Monday and Tuesday.
The taxes were paid after Excise and Taxation Department teams sealed their properties (five-marla and smaller) which were later de-sealed. Another 165 defaulters whose properties were sealed have yet to clear taxes.
Excise and Taxation Officer Afzal Goraya told The Express Tribune that five-marla and smaller residential properties were declared exempt from property tax 10 years ago. However, he said, a number of people had not cleared their tax liabilities for the years before the exemption.
The ETO said Rs100 million was due in property taxes on five-marla and smaller residential properties at that time. Of these, he said, Rs20 million had been cleared in 10 years.
He said notices had been served to the defaulters of the remaining Rs80 million every year but no coercive action was taken against them. But, he added, the Department now intended to recover all unpaid taxes.
Talking to The Express Tribune, several defaulters who cleared their tax on Tuesday after their houses were sealed said they had not felt the need to pay the tax in the past.
“They (the E&T Dept) used to serve warning notices every year but they did not ever seal our house before,” said Abdul Hamid, a resident of Peoples Colony. Hamid paid Rs7,500 to get his three and a half marla house de-sealed on Tuesday.
Haji Kifayatullah and Shaikh Muhammad Azam were among others who paid taxes, Rs3,500 and Rs7,600, respectively, on Tuesday.
Several defaulters who had yet to clear their taxes told The Tribune they would pay once the properties were transferred in their names. Amir Aslam Warraich, a resident of Katcha Aimanabad Road, who needs to pay Rs17,000, said his four and a half marla house was registered in his grandfather’s name. “I will pay once the ownership is transferred in my and my siblings’ names,” he said. He said the seal was not bothering the family because there were two entrances to his house and only one of them had been sealed.
Tahir Mahmood Anjum, a resident of Girjakh, said he had to pay Rs21,000 for the five marla house his family occupied. He also said he would only pay once ownership was transferred from his grandfather’s name to his.
E&T Divisional Director Syed Ashiq Hussain Shah, however, warned that defaulters whose houses had been sealed would not be given more than a week to clear their taxes and get their properties de-sealed. He said those who failed to do so would be prosecuted under the Revenue Act of 1964. “We have set up lock-ups at our tehsil office where defaulters will be held in case of non-payment of these taxes,” he said.
Overall, the E&T Department has collected Rs170 million of the Rs310 million target set for the current year. Recovery during the previous year had been Rs150 million.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 16th, 2012.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ