Friday, 21 January, 2022

Holding tax on hold for too long!

  • District Correspondent
  • 7 January, 2022 12:00 AM
  • Print news

With the aim of undertaking socio-economic and infrastructure projects and delivering better services to the city dweller in a fast and efficient manner, city corporations have been established in different parts of the country as an autonomous body directly under the local government. To revitalise their strength and ensure proper and smooth development in a particular area, city corporations are given authority to collect revenues using their resources on their own accords (following relevant laws) and spend the money as per their requirement. However, city corporations in our country often fail to generate the collection required for developments. Among many other reasons, the inability to comply with relevant laws is a major contributor to their failure.

According to the lead news published in this daily yesterday, the two city corporations in the capital are losing a huge amount of revenue every year, thanks to their silence in regards to re-assessing the holding tax for the last 33 years. Though a provision is there to reassess holding tax every five years, the authorities have reportedly been collecting tax against the rent fixed in 1989 at Tk. 2000 despite around 400 per cent hikes in the house rent during this period. The authorities have turned back from their decision to reassess the tax several times in the face of protests from house owners and fearing a backlash from the voters.

Albeit the house owners protest the reassessment of holding tax to pay the lowest holding tax compared to other cities giving the corporations a tough time to collect required revenue, they augment house rent every year compelling the dwellers of the capital to pay much higher house rent. For, reassessing the holding tax in the capital is now a Hobson’s choice since the dwellers’ demand for better services has increased and the corporations are obliged to meet those. The corporations have to be smart in taxation and increase the tax net through bringing the holdings or institutions and businesses, which were dropped earlier, under the tax. But, at the same time, they must keep a watchful eye on the house owners so that they cannot raise already elevated house rent reasserting the taxation. So, enforcing the Municipal Taxation Rules 1986 and the Premises Rent Control Act, 1991 can be an appropriate step. We demand quick enforcement of the laws.