KATHMANDU, Aug 16: Dismayed by enormous tax increases in goods and services, people living in various parts of the country have accused the local and central governments of extortion.
The successful completion of the parliamentary, provincial and local elections had made people hopeful of better facilities and services. However, a year later, they have come to the harsh realization that they were expecting too much. Instead of making life easier, the new policies introduced by the federal government have added to the woes of middle class people and the poor whose lives are already difficult.
Madan Kumar Neupane of Tulsipur-11 in Dang had submitted a property tax of Rs 298 jointly for the years 2012 to 2014. Four years later, when he went to the ward office to pay his property tax, his jaws dropped. He was handed a tax bill of Rs 6,030. He felt helpless. He paid the amount and returned home deflated.
The saddest part of all is people have no idea about the percentage of tax hikes. They are obliged to pay whatever they are told without raising any questions.
Ten days ago, Sachin Karki of Bhimeshwar Municipality-7, in Dolakha, reached the ward office to pay tax on land which is under the ownership of his mother. Last year, he had submitted a tax amount of Rs 150 to the local government for the five plots of land
“As I had heard about tax hikes, I went with Rs 500 in my pocket,” said Sachin, adding,” but I was shocked to learn that my tax bill had skyrocketed to Rs 3,850.”
He took the tax bill and returned home saying he would send the remaining amount through someone else. When he compared last year’s bill with this year’s he found that the tax had increased 2,500 percent.
The unbridled tax increases have drawn flak from all sides. People have accused the local government of overvaluing their property and hiking the taxes to make it easier for some interest groups to seek more loans from banks and financial institutions.
Meanwhile, venting their ire against the unexpected jump in taxes, cadres and leaders of seven political parties in Ratnanagar Municipality, Chitwan have started staging protests since Sunday. Likewise, entrepreneurs of Bharatpur Metropolitan City have submitted a memorandum to the metropolis demanding slashing of the tax rates and clarity in the classification of businesses.
Ratnanagar has made integrated property tax assessments starting from Rs150 and going all the up to Rs 40,000.
Likewise, Bharatpur Metropolis has made integrated property tax assessments ranging from Rs 170 to Rs 69,000.
(With the inputs of our district reporters Devendra Basnet in Dang, Ramesh Khatiwada in Dolakha, Ramesh Kumar Paudel in Chitwan)