PUBLIC utilities and government departments often send inflated bills and tax challans to the consumers. I have received a property tax challan (No.2354824) for the year 2021-22 without any mention of the date of issuance from the deputy district office, division J-2, Excise and Taxation (Property Tax) Gulberg Town, Karachi, amounting to Rs77,966 for my 40-year-old small residential apartment measuring 105sq-yds.
According to Excise and Taxation Department, property tax is levied and collected under the Sindh Urban Immovable Property Tax Act, 1958. A uniform rate of tax is levied on all categories of properties at 25 per cent of annual rental value (ARV) with effect from July 1, 2013.
It is strange that while the Sindh government has given property tax exemption on 120 sq-yds houses, it has imposed the tax on small flats which discriminates against those living in apartments.
Likewise, the Excise and Taxation Department has also given exemption to certain classes of our society, like widows, minors, orphans, permanently disabled persons and owners of 120 sq-yds residential houses under Section 4 of the said Act.
Being a retired employee and a senior citizen, I would suggest to the authorities concerned to consider exemption of property tax for all retired employees and senior citizens residing in small residential flats and are dependent on their respective pensions.
Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2022