Have you ever come across a person who evades property tax or claims that the property that has actually been rented out is meant for ‘self’ use? The Punjab Excise and Taxation Department surely has! As there are multiple offenders time and time again, the department has finally decided that the offenders have had enough fun – it’s time to close in on them by conducting a fresh round of surveys in the provincial capital of Punjab.
The city has many residents that hold immense wealth and astounding properties. And yet, so many of them continue to evade tax. Tax evasion is one of the oldest problems in Pakistan and has led to dire economic consequences. The Punjab Excise and Taxation Department aims to rectify this situation.
Now that the Eid holidays are over, the department will survey residential and commercial properties to identify tax defaulters. The police will assist the surveying process and also register details of new tenants for security purposes.
Plan of action
Excise & Taxation Director General Akram Ashraf Gondal reportedly announced on September 23, 2015 that teams comprising the department and police officials will begin a door-to-door survey of 800,000 properties in the Cantonment area. The survey process will also be facilitated using records available at police stations and the department.
The teams will visit each property and obtain information about the residents, tenants, the nature of property and its usage. According to Mr Gondal, this activity will act as a third-party audit and more tax revenue will be collected after the identification of the false claims.
Taking offenders to task
The taxation department is all set to penalise those property owners who conceal their tenants and show their property under ‘personal use’ in records. Fines will also be imposed for misrepresentation and other violations.
While it is rather ambiguous how tax officials will confirm whether a person is concealing important information, we know that the procedure entails proper investigation and a rigorous questioning process. Personal visits to the property will further reveal violations and will give property owners the opportunity to clarify misunderstandings or state their case.
According to the taxation department, residential and commercial properties are taxed at 5% of the annual rental value. Offenders will be charged 1% on the value of their property tax per month until they pay their dues. This 1% penalty will accumulate if a tax evader does not pay for multiple months.
Tax evasion is a very serious crime. Paying taxes will benefit Pakistan’s economy and bring fairness to the system. So, for those of you who evade tax, this is the time to change yourselves for the better.
Evaders, evaders, what cha gonna do? What cha gonna do when they come for you?