City gives Kathmandu Funpark 24 hours to clear unpaid taxesKathmandu Metropolitan City official says they will seal off the amusement park if the taxes are not paid within the given time.
While it gives continuity to the demolition of illegal structures in public places and clearing the basements of business complexes for vehicle parking, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City has turned its focus on recovering municipal taxes from businesses.
On Wednesday, the City issued a 24-hour ultimatum to the Bhrikutimandap-based amusement park, the Kathmandu Funpark, to clear unpaid taxes.
In a letter to the amusement park, the City’s Revenue Department said the park has not paid municipal taxes for several years despite multiple requests in writing and that officials would be forced to seal off the park if the dues are not cleared within the next 24 hours.
“We request Funpark to pay the business and rental taxes at the ward office, and advertisement and entertainment taxes and fines at the Revenue Department of the City within 24-hours,” reads the letter.
The Funpark, which is located at the heart of the Capital and spreads over 60 ropani (around 3 hectares), is being run by the Kathmandu Funpark Pvt Limited, a company owned by Tek Bahadur Gurung. Gurung is affiliated to the Nepali Congress party and is also a former federal minister for labour and employment.
The amusement park is the oldest and the most popular in Kathmandu. The land of the park is owned by the Social Welfare Council, a government authority.
Shiva Raj Adhikari, chief of the City’s Revenue Department, said the amusement park has not paid entertainment tax since 2018 and the City is yet to calculate the unpaid rent tax, business tax and advertisement tax. “We had written to the park to clear the taxes also before the start of the Covid pandemic, but it ignored our request,” said Adhikari.
Earlier, the then mayor of Kathmandu, Bidya Sundar Shakya, had also threatened to close down the park over unpaid taxes.
In July last year, the City had announced that it would seal off 23 businesses over unpaid taxes, but failed to both recover the taxes or implement the decision.
The City even hired musical troupes who would visit the offices of the tax-evading businesses and play loud music for hours in what it called a novel approach to pressure them to pay the taxes. This approach also proved ineffective.
“But this time we won't back down from our decision,” said Adhikari. “You can see how aggressively Mayor Balendra Shah has cleared the illegal structures in Kathmandu. Now we will be more stringent in collecting taxes.”