LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Friday rejected increase in property tax rates and called for its downward revision.
At a meeting with MNA Pervez Malik and Secretary Excise & Taxation Khalid Masood, the LCCI President called a spade a spade and termed the raise in property tax against business interests.
The meeting was also addressed by LCCI Senior Vice president Mian Nauman Kabir, Vice President Syed Mehmood Ghaznavi, former Presidents Sheikh Muhammad Asif, Muhammad Ali Mian, former Senior Vice Presidents Irfan Iqbal Sheikh and Mian Tariq Misbah.
The meeting, which continued for well over an hour, discussed new property tax rates in detail.
On the occasion, a six-member committee was also formed comprising officials of the Tax Department, Syed Mehmood Ghaznavi, Sheikh Muhammad Asif, Muhmmad Ali Mian and Nasir Saeed. The committee would prepare its recommendations that would be submitted to the Chief Minister Punjab.
The Secretary Excise & Taxation Khalid Masood also directed the Director General to have meeting with the representatives of different markets and trade associations to assertion their feedback on property tax rate.
LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry had received a number of complaints from its members against increase in the property tax.
He said that the unfortunate part is that the industry located in rural areas is served tax notices with footage measurement by the TMOs. He said that wherever industry is situated it is considered an industrial area. He said that industry in rural area must not be treated as in urban area.
He said that keeping in view the present scenario such actions are bound to cause irreparable damage to socio economic structure which would ultimately hit the present regime.
He proposed that both the provincial and federal governments should come out with a formula about the maximum and minimum percentage of one’s income and what the person or people should expect in return.
Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that government must initiate Public Private Dialogue to resolve the issues of business doing people who are backbone of the economy.
Citing an example he pointed out that in Lahore Davis Road and MM Alam Roads have been put in A category though the commercial value of property at M M Alam Road is many times higher than that at Davis Road. Moreover he added the excise department determines the property tax on the basis of rent charged at M M Alam Road while the rental value at Davis Road is 1/3rd. He said such discrepancies should be addressed to make the system more transparent.
Former LCCI President Sheikh Muhammad Asif said that government has to resolve the issue of increase in property tax rates immediately as it is creating unrest in the business community.
He suggested an increase of 50% in property tax rate with a three year cascading formula (20-20-10) and relief for those who deposited their taxes by adjusting their remaining amount in the coming years.
Former LCCI President Muhammad Ali Mian said that the Excise & Taxation Department has served notices with unprecedented increase in various markets which were then replaced by new notices with 50% increase therein as mentioned by the E&T department. He said this process of serving notices should be revised.
LCCI Vice President Syed Mahmood Ghaznavi said that business community is not ready to accept even 1% increase in the commercial Property Tax rates due to the current economic conditions in the country. He suggested bringing down the commercial rates to zero percent.
He said that he had a meeting with Hamza Shahbaz who has assured to resolve the issue on priority basis. He said that Punjab government had taken various business friendly initiatives. Business community hoped that property tax rate would be brought down in their larger interests.
Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Former Senior Vice President LCCI said that as we are paying Property Tax and the government in this year budget also imposed luxury tax which is unjustified. He also said that the changes in transfer fee of luxury vehicles are unprecedented which is hurting this sector very badly.
LCCI Executive Committee Members Khawaja Khawar Rashid, Talha Tayyab Butt, Maqsood Ahmad Butt, Nasir Saeed, Shahzad Saeed and Rizwan Akhtar were also present on the occasion.