Talking to ‘The News,’ the owners of five-marla houses and commercial properties said that they have cleared their taxes but they were still getting notices from the Excise and Taxation Office with increased amount of tax.
On the other hand, sources in the Excise and Taxation Office claimed that the Punjab government has increased property taxes on residential and commercial houses with different ratios. The provincial government is charging Rs1.20 against 20 paisas per square yard on houses, they claimed.
When ‘The News’ contacted Assistant Excise & Taxation Officer (AETO) Tajamal Murtaza, he said that they are helpless before orders of higher authorities. “We are not adding paid taxes in the new notices, but the Punjab government has increased the ratio of property taxes. The public does not understand this issue,” he said. He said that property tax was not imposed on five-marla houses, but now they are charging taxes even on five-marla houses category-wise. “The inspectors are not misbehaving with the public but helping them out,” he claimed. He also said that they are facing worst kind of opposition from the public when they go for tax collection.
Talking to ‘The News,’ the owners of five-marla houses said that the Punjab government has imposed huge amount of taxes.
Muhammad Younas, a resident of Sadiqabad, said that he is regularly visiting the Excise & Taxation Office to clear his dues. “I have already paid all dues of my five-marla house, but the ETO has once again served me a notice by adding paid amount. How could I pay huge tax,” he added.
Naureen Bashir, a poor woman, told this scribe that she is visiting the Excise and Taxation Office to clear dues of her house. “I am living in a small house of five marlas and already paid taxes, but the concerned inspectors are regularly visiting my home threatening me that the house will be locked if I fail to pay the revised tax,” she added. “The government is trying to snatch the right of living from us. We are insecure even in our own homes now,” she denounced.
Ghulam Rasool, a resident of Mohanpura, said that the concerned officers had locked his house despite payment of all dues. “The concerned inspectors sent me a notice by adding the paid amount and finally they locked my house,” he said. “I came to the Excise and Taxation Office to make a request for unlocking of my house,” he said.
A key officer of the Excise & Taxation Department, on condition of anonymity, said that in the present situation property taxes are nominal. The Punjab government has finalised a plan to increase taxes from Rs12 to Rs96 per square yard. People would cry at that time, he said. He said that the provincial government is waiting for local bodies elections and after elections they would implement taxes immediately, he warned.