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KARACHI: This is with reference to Kamal Siddiqi’s article, “New taxes, old story” (November 9). Instead of burdening those who are already in the tax net, the government can do a lot to improve revenue collection. For a start, it can recover taxes from shopkeepers in markets all over the country that sell smuggled goods, like the Karkhano Bazaar in Hayatabad, Peshawar. Only filers of tax returns should be allowed to buy and sell shares, motor vehicles, plots, apartments, bungalows and buildings.
Everyone knows that there is a huge difference between the actual price of immovable property and the declared value, which is sometimes only 10 per cent of the actual value. Surely, the Federal Board of Revenue is aware of this. Surely, politicians and bureaucrats have bought plots, bungalows and apartments in the past. Did they pay taxes on the actual values? In India, if a property is to be sold, the owner has to inform the government of its declared sale price. If the government feels that it is lower than the actual price, it can buy the property from the seller and auction it off to the highest bidder. Our government should do the same here. Of course, there will be a lot of resistance at first, but reducing our debt should be the top priority of the government.
Shakir Lakhani
Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th, 2015.

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