Five-marla houses RCB seeks withdrawal of tax exemption

Gulshan Dadan Khan Mosque Murree Road Rawalpin...

Gulshan Dadan Khan Mosque Murree Road Rawalpindi, pakistan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

RAWALPINDI, May 16: Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) has proposed to the federal government to withdraw the tax exemption on five-marla houses in cantonment areas as it was costing Rs250 million annually to the civic body.

The five-marla houses were granted tax exemption in 2007, but the RCB and Chaklala Cantonment Board (CCB) were still reluctant to grant the tax exemption certificates to the owners, a senior official told Dawn on Wednesday.

Whenever the owners of small houses contact the cantonment boards to get the certificate issued, the officials demand water bills and building plan approved by the boards.More than 60 per cent of the small units were constructed three to four decades back and the owners do not have the copies of the building plans.

“My ancestral house on 3.5 marlas was constructed by my grandfather in 1960. Now we do not have the map of the house, which created a lot of difficulty for us to get tax exemption certificate from the RCB,” said Khursheed Ahmed, a resident of
Tench Bhatta.

Mohammad Safeer, a resident of Chur Harpal, opposing the tax exemption said that the government should reject the proposal as it would create problems for the low income people.

The cantonment officials said another reason for delay in issuance of exemption certificate was pre-2007 arrears. They said that the small owners were defaulters and the cantonment boards would issue the certificate after clearance of the arrears.

“If the government withdrew the tax exemption the civic body would recover all the dues from the owners by force,” they said and added that there were more than 33,000 units of five-marlas and below it in the cantonment limits.

When contacted, the RCB Cantonment Executive officer Rana Manzoor Ahmed Khan confirmed that the RCB had sent the proposal.

To a question, he said for tax exemption the federal government simply issued notification.

The RCB official claimed that the Punjab government was also planning to withdraw the tax exemption on five marla houses.

However, Rawalpindi Excise and Taxation Director Mohammad Sohail talking to Dawn denied that the provincial government
was planning to withdraw the tax exemption.

He said that the Punjab even planned to waive Rs180 million pre-tax exemption arrears in Rawalpindi district.