Sindh govt likely to bring 2.4 mn housing units into tax net in Karachi alone | Pakistan Today

Sindh govt likely to bring 2.4 mn housing units into tax net in Karachi alone

KARACHI: Although the port city has witnessed a rapid population influx from different parts of the country, acting as a catalyst for rising property prices, the Sindh government is all set to bring at least 2.4 million new housing units into the tax net by conducting a fresh property survey, Pakistan Today learnt on Thursday.

In this connection, Sindh’s Excise, Taxation and Narcotics Control Department (E&TD), in collaboration with the World Bank (WB), has worked out a plan to conduct a fresh survey in the port city targeting more than 2.4 million housing units to be taxed.

Presently, the excise and taxation authorities are collecting property tax at rates that were fixed in 2001 whereas property prices have increased manifold since then, well-placed sources told Pakistan Today.

According to sources, the first property survey of the Karachi city was conducted in 1968 while the second survey was conducted after a gap of 32 years i.e. 2001. Due to this reason, the provincial exchequer has and continues to suffer heavy losses.

“The provincial government is bound to conduct a fresh survey every four years,” sources said, highlighting the government’s ineptness.

Sources also said that a Punjab-based survey firm was assigned the task to conduct a survey of Sukkur city which has recently been completed so, now the company is all set to start surveying the port city.

Moreover, sources disclosed that annually a revenue of Rs2 billion is collected under the head of property tax which would be enhanced up to Rs7 billion after a fresh survey.

“There are only 1.2 million housing units whose owners pay the taxes to the government,” sources informed while adding that housing units to be taxed in the city would stand at 3.6 million after the updated survey.

When contacted, a senior officer of E&TD who wished to remain anonymous told Pakistan Today that the paperwork to deal with this issue has been completed and the survey process will begin within a few days.

The writer is a member of Pakistan Today's Karachi Bureau.