Taxman cometh

Naya Patrika, 16 August

New local government taxes have generated outrage over the rates and for hurting those with minimum wage occupations. Here are some items that have raised protests:

  • Tax to prove you are alive

People assumed to be dead AND found alive will have to pay back taxes to the municipality. Local administrations in East and West Rukum have imposed taxes on documents to prove that someone is still alive. In Sisne village, the fee is Rs200 for the service. Kumari Baral of the village council of Sisne said: “Yes, if a person comes back to life, there is a tax on the document.”

  • Tax to prove you are poor

People have to pay a Rs25 tax to prove their low economic status in Athbiskot municipality in Rukum. The local government has levied taxes not just for marriage registration, but also to prove whether one is married or single, which costs Rs1,000 in Athbiskot and Chaurjahari municipalities, and Rs200 in Sisne for the service.

  • Tax on roasting corn and selling buffalo

Tilottama municipality in Rupandehi has started collecting Rs45 from corn vendors at marketplaces. Ducks, chicken, and pigeons are taxed Rs16 apiece. Vegetable retailers need to pay Rs1,200, and fruit sellers with wheelbarrows, Rs1,500 per year. In Tripurasundari municipality of Dolpa, farmers need to pay a Rs1,000 tax if they sell a buffalo and Rs150 if they sell a goat.

  • Vegetable vendors are not spared

Siddhartha municipality of Rupandehi has not only imposed a tax of Rs2,000 on vegetable retailers, but also started collecting Rs35 from farmers who take vegetables and greens to the market in dokos. Butwal sub municipality also collects Rs20 per trip.

  • Tax on fishing

Yangwarak village of Panchthar is preparing to tax people for fishing in the district’s rivers. Village council head Lekhnath Ghimire said that the money was needed to protect natural resources. The council is preparing to give the responsibility of collecting the taxes to local contractors, at a minimum of Rs150,000.

  • Rs20 per day from sidewalk barbers

In Budhiganga municipality of Morang, barbers have to pay Rs20, chana chatpate sellers Rs30, mehendi appliers Rs10, and magicians Rs20 every day. In Katahari village, tea sellers have to pay Rs1,100 per year.

  • Rs25 per month ‘garbage tax’

Butwal sub municipality is collecting garbage tax not just from landlords but also from tenants. The municipality used to collect Rs100 per house, but is now collecting Rs50 per family. There is a discount for students.

  • Rs1,000 to declared bankruptcy

Biratnagar metropolitan wants Rs1,000 to provide documents confirming the closure of a business.

  • Rs1,000 per day to shoot a movie

Bandipur village of Tanahu has imposed a tax of Rs1,000 per day for film and music video shootings. There is also a drone tax of Rs500, and a paraglider tax of Rs1,500.

  • NRS 500 for translating documents

Myanglung municipality of Tehrathum has imposed a tax of Rs500 on any document to be made in English. There are also taxes of Rs500 for divorce, Rs100 for recommendation for citizenship, Rs200 for verification, Rs200 for copies of documents, Rs1,000 for naturalised citizenship, Rs100 for recommendation for health insurance. The municipality aims to collect Rs6.5 million in the current fiscal year from such taxes.

  • Rs200 tax for chopping trees in your own land

Kummyak village of Panchthar has imposed a tax of Rs200 for cutting trees in private property. Village council chief Kamal Bhattarai said the tax was to discourage people from deforestation. Rs400,000 was collected last year just from this tax. Bheri Municipality of Jajarkot even has a Rs500 tax for pruning branches from private trees.

  • Tax on diesel and petrol

Ilam municipality has begun collecting Rs50 paisa per litre of diesel and petrol as ‘pollution tax’, and aims to collect Rs2.5 million per year from two petrol pumps in the municipality.

  • Rs1,000 for carom boards

In Miklajung village of Morang, shops that operate carom boards will have to pay Rs1,000 a year in tax. Gramthan village has a tax of Rs300 per day on goat and pig butchers, and Rs 500 for chicken vendors.

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