The Excise and Taxation Department has expressed dissatisfaction with results of a property survey conducted by the Urban Unit. It has stopped the payment of Rs100 million fees to the Urban Unit until all discrepancies in the results are removed.
The Urban Unit was established in 2006 as a project management unit of the Planning and Development Department. In 2012, it was made a government-owned company, registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.
In 2013, the department gave the Urban Unit the responsibility for carrying out the Urban Immovable Property Tax survey in five districts of the province.
The Excise Department wanted to bring new immovable properties into the tax net with the help of the Rs623 million project. Work with an estimated amount of Rs446 million was awarded to the Urban Unit.
The unit hired 1,500 individuals, who went from door-to-door, to survey properties. The Excise and Taxation inspectors also assisted the Urban Unit staff.
The raw data was handed to the department in February.
When the Excise and Taxation Department analysed the data and compared it to record they found 80 per cent discrepancies. They claimed that the survey results were wrong.
Excise and Taxation Department Director General Naseem Sadiq went to Gujranwala along with Urban Unit officials to verify the survey results. However, most of the data was found incorrect.
“Rented properties have been labelled as self-occupied, while many other properties were incorrectly shown as rented,” Excise and Taxation officials, requesting anonymity, told The Express Tribune.
“The addresses and names of occupants have not been mentioned in many cases,” the officials said.
The department conveyed its concerns to the Urban Unit at a meeting on July 11. “The Urban Unity refused to acknowledge our concerns regarding the validity of the data,” the officials said.
“Urban Unit Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Nasir Javeed had assured us that they would prepare a schedule for verifying the data of each district by July 14,” the officials said. However, they said, no timeframe had been given to the department so far.
Talking to The Express Tribune, DG Naseem Sadiq said they had conveyed their concerns to the Urban Unit over the survey results. “The Urban Unit officials have assured us that they will remove all the discrepancies by August 1,” Sadiq said. He said that the remaining payment would be made once the complete data was handed over to the department.
Urban Unity CEO Dr Javeed told The Express Tribune the data given to the taxation department earlier was incomplete and might have some errors. He said that they would complete the tax mapping by the end of August.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2014.