Taxman tightens screws on Pokhara companiesLarge taxpayers in Pokhara have been rushing to pay integrated property tax after the authorities started tightening the screws on them.
Large taxpayers in Pokhara have been rushing to pay integrated property tax after the authorities started tightening the screws on them.
Big hotels and business firms have been clearing their longstanding dues following stringent action by Pokhara Sub-Metropolitan City. Integrated property tax is collected by local bodies such as municipalities and metropolitan cities, and is a major source of revenue for them.
According to Shiva Hari Sharma, tax officer of Pokhara Sub-Metropolitan City, Bhat Bhateni Supermarket has settled its five-year-old integrated property tax amounting to Rs5.4 million. Likewise, five-star property Hotel Pokhara Grande has paid Rs500,000 as integrated property tax and Rs7 million as house and land tax, eight years after its launching. Four-star property Shangri-La Village Resort Pokhara has settled its Rs5.6 million house and land tax and Rs300,000 integrated property tax after 12 years.
Tax defaulters started clearing their longstanding dues after city authorities threatened to hold back government facilities and seize their bank accounts.
“We have launched a campaign to raise taxes from large taxpayers,” said Navaraj Dhungana, executive officer of Pokhara Sub-Metropolitan City. “After pursuing repeated enforcement actions, we succeeded in collecting longstanding dues from the defaulters.”
There are still a large number of hotels and business firms that have not come into the tax net. He said that business firms were still stuck with the mentality that they do not have to pay taxes. “However, we will not spare anyone. Everyone has to pay taxes,” said Dhungana.
As per the Local Self-Governance Act, authorities can seal firms that do not pay taxes, he added. City officials said that they started going after large taxpayers as they frequently faced criticism that the local authorities were unable to take action against big companies.
“All are equal before the law,” said Sharma, adding that they had issued letters to several hotels and hospitals to pay their taxes immediately. The city is also preparing a list of large taxpayers.
He said that a number of paragliding companies too were yet to come into the tax net. There are also a huge number of small hotels that have been operating without a permit.