ISLAMABAD: Property owners in the capital have seen an unprecedented 200pc increase in property tax with little time to pay the charges.
The Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (MCI) approved the property tax increase last December, so it is applicable as of July 1, but tensions between the MCI and the Capital Development Authority (CDA) over who controlling the revenue management responsible for collecting the property tax meant that the distribution of property tax bills was delayed.
Invoices that should have reached people in the first week of August were distributed last week, with September 30 as the due date.
Tug of war between MCI, CDA over the control of the revenue department delayed tax notices, which were distributed about a week before the due date
The revenue management used to be part of the CDA and was transferred to the MCI after the local government was forced in 2016.
The MCI reviewed property and water taxes, which were deposited in CDA accounts because bills had to be paid to the "CDA revenue address".
The sources said both civic organizations have claimed their right to address, so interested officials are not sure if tax bills should be issued with the MCI logo or the CDA. After a considerable delay, they decided to go ahead with a CDA logo.
When it approved the revised property tax rate, the MCI said that property taxes had not been reviewed for more than 18 years and that therefore an increase was imperative.
However, residents said it was the fault of the authority if the tax rates were not reviewed on time and not the fault of the owners who now face the increase of 200 pieces.
An F-6 resident said: “This is ridiculous and meaningless. There is no justification for a walk of more than 200 pieces, whatever the reason. There should be an increase of 10 to 20 pieces. "
The situation has been exacerbated by the fact that tax notices were not delivered on time in August. Citizens said they were delivered a few days ago, ordering citizens to pay their taxes no later than September 30.
“It seems that the internal dispute between the CDA and the MCI to take the civic powers of the capital territory resulted in the delay in the distribution of property tax bills. Invoices that would otherwise have reached their destinations in August were distributed from September 21 to 22, leaving residents shocked by the increase on the one hand and fearful of the deadline on the other, "said a CDA official.
Owners Dawn He spoke demanded that the MCI or CDA review the rate and extend the deadline.
“This is totally unfair. We do not know who has the powers to decide the tax increase, but it is nothing less than a bomb for residents who have to pay 200 times more than they paid in property taxes last year.
“I am surprised by the criteria that the MCI follows. Such a significant increase once has left our budgets staggering. We are the salaried class and we have to keep our monthly budgets accordingly. Now we have to look at our savings to pay the bills, ”said a G-10 resident.
Rejecting the argument that taxes increased after 2001, he said: “This is not my fault. The MCI must have a system to follow when it comes to imposing or increasing such property taxes. Unfortunately they have none. A sudden increase, and that too in a large proportion, means that the city is being run by amateur officials. "
He added that owners who previously paid Rs8,000 per year will now have to pay around Rs30,000.
An MCI official said the rates were revised after 18 years, which is "justified." The official added that the tax is being collected by the CDA and not by the MCI.
CDA spokesman Syed Safdar Ali said the federal government would decide how taxes would be shared between MCI and CDA.
When asked why the rate increased by 200pc and why notices were not distributed on time, he said: “The rate review was conducted by the MCI home, so the CDA has nothing to do with that. As for the late distribution refers to a short time for payment, we will analyze it ”.
Posted on Dawn, September 23, 2019