Over 100pc increase in property tax infuriates Karachi DHA residents

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KARACHI: A decision of the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) to send people living in Clifton and Defence Housing Authority (DHA) annual property tax, said to be revised for a second time within three years in accordance with new rental value of the Federal Board of Revenue, draws strong reaction from residents, who are planning to approach judiciary against the move, it emerged on Tuesday.

Many residents are flabbergasted on being sent property tax notices with an increase of 100 per cent or even exceeding that. In one such case, the property tax amount has been revised from around Rs100,000 to Rs250,000. There are numerous other cases of more than 100pc increase without any justification, the residents said.

They have shown utter disappointment and disapproval at being asked to pay ‘undue and extra charges’ in the name of annual property taxes.

Many residents said that they were unable to understand how the CBC could keep on increasing the property tax, which they believed was totally ‘unfair and uncalled for’.

They have decided to go to court on the matter after the CBC did not respond to their complaints.

“We the Clifton Defence Community [CDC] have questioned the CBC over the unnecessary and uncalled for increase in property taxes to which they have told us that they are implementing taxes on the order of the court,” CDC president Abdul Rehman told Daily City News.

“The CBC people are saying that they have taken out the annual rental value according to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) property rates. But the step is illegal from our point of view because, according to law, the annual rental value can only increase once in three years, but they are increasing it for a second time in three years,” Mr Rehman explained.

He said that the CBC had also started sealing properties that were behind in paying property taxes, both commercial and residential “only to spread fear among the residents”.

“With that going around, the owners feel that they have no choice but to pay through their nose what the CBC is demanding,” he added.

He said the community had decided to move the court.

“It is time that the residents get united and joined hands to file a petition against such steps in the court of law because keeping silent at this time will give them the go-ahead for making further uncalled for increases in property taxes,” he added.

He said that the residents from the platform of the CDC had also gone to court for other things such as distribution of water, extensive digging in the name of building storm water drains, infrastructure issues, etc.

The residents, who wanted to file a petition against the CBC, have been asked to bring their property tax bills and other documents to the CDC following which they have held in-depth meetings with their law advisers.

A coordination committee was also formed on the occasion by the CDC core committee. It will now look into individual cases as well as get in touch with other old and new residents of Clifton and DHA regarding the issue of property tax increase.

“The vakalatnama and power of attorneys have been signed. The petition has been worded, too, and by Sunday most of the residents signed it also. By the end of this week it will be signed by most of the residents who have not yet been able to do so. We will go to court next week,” said Mr Rehman.

The CBC was not available for comment regarding the matter.

Meanwhile, the DHA said that they did not collect property tax and, therefore, could not say much in this regard.

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