THIS is with reference to the letters ‘Property valuations’ (July 29). I am surprised at the argument that if the government sticks to its stand, there will be flight of capital and the government will be the loser owing to reduced taxes.
First of all, it is well-known that holders of black money have invested in the property market, resulting in highly-inflated prices owing to which the average middle class Pakistani can no longer buy or build a house of his own.
Because of the massive difference between the declared prices and the actual ones, the government has been able to realise only rupees four billion annually from the entire property sector in which rupees seven trillion have been parked.
Why is the government even negotiating with such people? The law says that those who evade taxes must be penalised, yet these racketeers are forcing the government to accept their highly-reduced property valuations and grant them an amnesty for past crimes.
If the government gives in and announces an amnesty for them, what message will it convey to those who have been paying their taxes all their lives? It should strictly enforce the law and penalise those who have cheated on taxes. The government should recover taxes and penalties based on the actual prices paid.
It should ignore their threat of going on strike. Even if they go on strike for the whole year the loss to the exchequer will be negligible.
Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2016