Almost three decades after the National Taxation Policy was amended, house owners of Mongar thromde are now asked to pay the urban house tax.
The revised National Taxation Policy 1992 mandated collection of taxes from every urban house like taxes on rural houses, but the urban house tax was not collected.
Statistics maintained by the dzongkhag stated there are 230 households in Mongar thromde, 192 houses in Mongar core town and peripheral local area plans (LAPs) including Kilikhar extended town, 20 houses in Gyalpoizhing town and 18 in Yadi town.
The taxation rates differ from town to town, and since Mongar town falls under town B category, the taxation policy mandates the building owners in the core and LAPs in Mongar town to pay house taxes of Nu 75 per unit a year for three bedrooms, hall and kitchen buildings, Nu 50 per unit for second class with two bedrooms, hall and kitchen buildings, Nu 25 per unit for one bedroom, hall and kitchen buildings and Nu 15 per unit for houses without separate living room.
The dzongkhag town committee, after finding that the tax was not collected, decided to collect the tax for six years from 2014 onwards at one go in its recent committee meeting where officials from the regional revenue and customs office (RRCO) also attended.
RRCO’s regional director in Mongar, Ganesh Lama Kelden, said their tax team found out about the tax non-payment in 2018 and reported it to the office.
“We have been following up with the dzongkhag human settlement sector since then.”
He said the taxation policy clearly stated that house tax must be collected by the tax collecting agencies like dzongkhag and deposit it in the government revenue account. “But the dzongkhag did not collect the urban tax.”
Officials from the dzongkhag’s human settlement sector said the tax was not collected before, as the revenue sector in the dzongkhag then did not approve the collection.
The dzongkhag’ human settlement officer, Ram Bahadur Darjee said it could be because some local area plans (LAPs) and precincts were in development process and the clear demarcation was not finalized.
However, with LAP like core town, Trailing-Jarungkhashore and Gyalpoizhing now finalized, he said it’s appropriate to collect the tax. “We will collect taxes from 2014 , as suggested by RRCO officials.”
He said dzongkhag notified the urban house owners through the media to make the tax payment before May 31. “The house owners are required to make the payment in person to the dzongkhag accounts section, as online payment for house tax is not incorporated in the online app.
RRCO officials said excluding the traditional houses in the old town, even some buildings in the new township in Mongar are more than two decades old.
“We are being lenient by not going beyond 2014 to settle the matter and regularize tax collection system in the thromde like any other thromde,” Ganesh Lama Kelden said.
Meanwhile, the annual tax collection is estimated around Nu 65,000 and the revenue for the last six years from 2014 to 2020 is estimated at about Nu 400,000.
With the dateline nearing, 50 building owners have made their payment amounting to about Nu 110,000 to the dzongkhag accounts section so far.
By Tshering Namgyal | Mongar
Edited by Tashi Dema