Tax talk: Minister urges elite to pull their share of the load

Saturday, May 31st, 2014 9:51:51 by



MULTAN: 

Punjab Minister for Finance, Excise and Taxation Mujtaba Shujaur Rahman has urged elites to pay taxes to contribute their due share in strengthening the country’s economy. Addressing at the Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), the minister recalled that an attempt to levy tax on luxury houses in three big cities was responded with filing of 800 petitions in the High Court.

He said that the provincial government does not wish to burden the poor with taxes and all out efforts were being made to provide them with relief. However, it was also a fact that 80% of the provincial government’s revenue comes from the federal divisible pool and rest of the 20% is generated by the province through taxation.

He said that property tax, which should have been the leading contributor in revenue generation, stands second after motor vehicle taxes in Punjab. Property tax share today was 28% while 54 percent of the revenue came from motor vehicle taxes, he informed.

Shuja said that property tax has not been raised since 2001 despite the fact that rental value of properties increased by 300-400% during the last 13 years. The situation has now come to a stage that makes it necessary to increase property tax, lamented Shuja, while making it clear that every decision would be made after consulting stakeholders.

He said that a fresh survey of property tax has been completed and an increase ranging from 60 percent to 105 percent has been proposed – the increase will be contingent upon the cities and different categories of properties there.

He said that computerisation of system and processes were a priority of the government to minimise chances of people’s interaction with officials in an attempt to plug chances of corruption. He disclosed that Geographic Information Systems have been launched in Multan, Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and Gujranwala that will enable the people to assess the tax levied on them on their own through their computer.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2014.

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