HM tells MoHA to tackle overdue building taxes
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
HIS MAJESTY Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, yesterday called for a more efficient and effective system to tackle overdue building taxes.
During His Majesty’s titah at the Ministry of Home Affairs Headquarters, the monarch urged the ministry to create an effective management system for the collection of taxes and proper enforcement of the law to address those who fail to pay.
“From my personal observation, many cases of building taxes payable by dignitaries and VIPs are still outstanding but the authorities only managed to issue and collect a significant amount of revenue from ordinary people only,” said His Majesty.
The Sultan noted that shortcomings have been identified hindering authorities over tax collection processes but emphasised that reviews over the building tax rate should be focused on making municipal areas among the main contributors to economic activities in the country.
“Hence, related issues with failure of the tax collectors should be properly addressed by the Ministry of Home Affairs by creating an effective and efficient management system for the collection,” he said.
“Enforcement needs to be tightened and emphasised to the officers responsible.
“These include the controlling officers, and most importantly, there should be a law to prosecute those who fail to (pay the tax),” he added.
His Majesty also urged MoHA to review the proposal by consulting and coordinating with the stakeholders in the government.
These are the Department of Energy and Industries of the Prime Minister Office, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Development.
Chairperson of the Bandar Seri Begawan Municipal Board Pg Dato Paduka Hj Abd Rahman Pg Seri Indera Pg Hj Ismail told The Brunei Times that the problems with tax collections were partly due to the vendors asking to pay in installments, with some refusing to pay without valid reasons. “We usually issue charges to them but there are some that still do not pay even after we sent them summons,” he said.
The building tax, he explained, is payment imposed on building owners within Bandar Seri Begawan. The tax is collected to improve services of other departments under the Bandar Seri Begawan Municipal Board and also for maintenance of the capital.
The tax, he said, is imposed on property owners annually and charges would usually be issued in January. The tax per building is not fixed, said the chairperson, as it may differ from one building to another, depending on factors such as the location of the building.
"At the moment, we are looking at various ways on how to manage and collect the tax, but certainly we would need cooperation from other parties too,” he added.
The Brunei Times