28 August 2018, Kathmandu
Several proverbs in the English language attributed to various sources proclaim that there is no way one can get away from the taxes. One such saying states: ” Nothing is certain but death and taxes.”
Some people and entities are vociferous when demanding rights but are gripped by amnesia when its their turn to fulfill duties. These people would astonishingly turn a deaf ear even when reminded of the most basic duties and responsibilities.
The story of Daffodil Public School is very much reminiscent of the above described scenario. The school has a “reputation” of being one of the best elite schools of Kathmandu. However, its state of affairs is surprising as well as shocking to say the least.
Daffodil Public School has started stinking as it is on a kind of warpath against the local government and refuses to pay legally mandatory wealth tax since last five years.
The school is located in Ward Number 10 of Budhanilkantha Municipality of Kathmandu. It owns two plots of lands — plot numbers 378 and 71 — in what was previously Ward Number 3 of Kapan Village Development Committee. But the plots are registered in the personal name of Uttam Kumar Lama, not the school. A huge five story building has been constructed on those two plots.
The local government has valued the property at Rs. 85 million. As per the Office of Ward No. 10 of Budhanilkantha Municipality, total wealth tax due from the school for the last five financial years is Rs. 7,76,476.98 (Rs. seven hundred seventy-six thousand four hundred seventy-six and paisa ninety-eight).
The due amount is a pittance though considering the income of the school. Consider this. According to the Accounts Department of the school, admission fees for Grade 1 is Rs. 48,750/- (Rs. forty-eight thousand seven hundred fifty). Thus the total due wealth tax for the last five years can be easily covered by admission fees of sixteen first graders in just one year. This makes Daffodil’s refusal to pay wealth tax all the more bizarre and shocking.
A contrast is very striking. When it’s the school’s turn to demand fees under different headings from parents of the school children, no mercy is shown. However, the school refuses to abide by even its basic duty of paying wealth tax year after year.
Another aberration is also quite disturbing. As per existing legal provisions, schools are required to set up a school management committee, and also have a people’s representative therein.
In defiance of the law, the school has not as yet set up any such committee or have a people’s representative in management, despite being in operation for a pretty long time. Moreover, the school refuses to send any representative to meetings and programs on education organized by local government .