Paying car token/tax: Far more complicated than it sounds
By Azhar Mehmood Khan
Paying car token/tax during the last few days of July is such a task that no one would wish to go through again. The long queues of fatigued and impatient people at Post Offices, Banks and Excise and Taxation Office, waiting to pay car token/tax, show the complications of the system and the problems faced by the people.
The time for paying the token is from 1st July to 31st July every year, yet many people show up on the last few days. There were many people standing in a queue at Excise and Taxation office Islamabad, who did not know the dates during which taxes can be paid, however they knew about the closing date.
When asked why he has waited till the last few days, Asad shaukat, owner of a vehicle who came to pay the tax at State Bank of Pakistan, replied, “We have not delayed it; it’s late because the system is too complicated. There are no proper instructions or guideline given by the authorities. We are running from pillar to post with minimal success and still our documents are called incomplete or improper.”
He further added, “I went to excise office and after getting Callan form, I came here to pay the token/tax but now they tell me to go back to Excise and Taxation Office to get it stamped too. It’s a long distance from here. All the confusion and suffering is because no one bothers to clearly guide the customers.”
“There is an option of getting the process done online as many other utility bills are paid but then how would these people get bribe. They make money out of it by compelling people to pay them for getting the most complicated procedure completed in the simplest way and the shortest possible time” he ended.
Muhammad Waseem, another person in the same bank, said, “I have been moving like a shuttle between different offices for the last three days. The procedure is too complicated unless we pay to the touts who are present everywhere asking for 300 to 400 rupees per Challan. Those who afford pay them but I can’t; so I suffer.”
It seems that one has to use all the available options to get things done at this office. Its not just agents but phone calls by some important government officials are also vital. Muhammad Imran, who came to Excise and Taxation Office to get a new registration book, said “I have asked about a dozen people to call the authorities to get my work done. Without approach files do not move at all.”
When contacted Makhdoom Zada Mushataq Hussain, Excise and Taxation Officer, Islamabad said, “The process is a bit complicated because we have to very carefully manage the things- we have no option for any error. It’s a very sensitive record- one has to be accurate beyond any doubt.”
On the exploitation by agents and touts he said, “Our department is transparent and we do not let any agent or tout to enter our premises, however we have no authority to control them outside. “
He further said, “Guidelines are properly displayed on a big board installed near the main entrance moreover we have established an information desk that provides all sorts of information to the public.”
No matter how complicated the procedure is, there is some responsibility of the people as well that instead of waiting for the last few days they must come to pay the token tax earlier so that they don’t have to stand in the long queues. However it is suggested that Govt. can also take some step to facilitate the people. Introducing an online system of payment can be the best option, as many other organizations are working online and utility bills and other payments are made with ease and accuracy.