The Langchenphug gewog administration in Jomotsangkha is still waiting for a response regarding the army colony in Jomotsangkha not paying taxes for the last three years.

The issue was raised during the last Dzongkhag Tshogdu (DT).

Stating the importance of the Land Act of Bhutan 2007, Gup Gumu Singh Gayal said that the land, which the gewog administration owns, has not received land taxes for the past three years despite several reminders to do so.

“We’re just raising the issue just to make sure the Act is followed, which spells out that all  registered land is subject to land tax,” he said. “Prior to the last three years, the tax was paid annually and on time.”

Gumu Singh said the colony occupies about 50 decimals of dry land and that Nu 12 per decimal should be paid, which comes to about Nu 2,800 in a year.

“Although the amount is minimal, it is revenue for the gewog and an Act is an Act, we need to follow it,” he said.

The gup informed tshogdu members that the gewog administration felt it is important to raise the issue and seek clarification if the army is liable for the land tax and also to uphold the land rules and regulations of the country.

He said the gewog still receives land tax from other institutions like the Royal Bhutan Police, forest department, financial institutions and individual landowners, except from the army.

“We’re just waiting for a response because we haven’t received any letter or notification whether to discontinue collecting the tax,” the gup said.

“They might have their own reasons but they should clarify.”

According to the Land Act, if land tax for both private and government land is not paid for three consecutive years, the local authority shall serve a notice to the landowner and levy the tax with arrears.

Section 396 of the Land Rules and Regulations state that failure to comply with the Act, the gup should submit the report to the secretariat on the non-payment of tax along with the relevant documents.

Dzongkhag land record officer, Sangay D Zam, said that although there is no specific clause that states the army is exempted from tax, they have not received any complaint on the issue. “If we receive a complaint, we would first forward it to the National Land Commission to seek guidance on how to deal with the issue as well as seek further directives.”

The DT resolved that they would further look into the issue.

However, an army official said that as per the “user right certificate” the army camp is not liable for land tax and there are no records of it paying tax to the gewog office. “We confirmed from the land and property division that an army camp anywhere is not liable for land tax,” the official said.

Meanwhile, the gup added the same issue was also put up during the last gups conference, but it did not make it to the agenda.

Yangchen C Rinzin |  Samdrupjongkhar