Dawn News

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ISLAMABAD, Oct 26: The television industry has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years but few of the entertainment stars are willing to share their good luck with the state by paying up the due tax.

This is evident from investigations carried out by the Federal Board of Revenue into the earnings made and taxes paid by some major actors, singers and producers who lead the entertainment industry.

For instance, actor and producer Humayun Saeed earned Rs2.098 million in 2011. And at least 25 of his colleagues earned more than him.

The 26 stars were investigated by the revenue department because they either did not file tax returns or used some loopholes in the tax laws to under-declare their income and assets.

Tax officials admit that some other people in the industry may have larger incomes but have escaped the sharp eyes of investigators because they are not in the tax loop at all. Like many other businesses, television and media celebrities always under-declare their assets but escape punishment because of FBR’s weaknesses.

The bureau prepared a report on some high-profile celebrities ostensibly to launch a crackdown. But after issuing the first notice to one of them, the FBR was ordered to stop the exercise.

It says most tax evaders are guilty of not completing the paperwork; tax is usually deducted when they are paid but it is still mandatory for taxpayers to file their returns and wealth statements.

People earning more than Rs500,000 a year may be punished for not filing the returns. The penalty starts from Rs5,000 and can go as high as 25 per cent of the tax payable in a year. Tax officials can also force the guilty person to pay up the due tax.

These two steps are skipped by most people, including the celebrities. Most of them show higher expenditures than they actually incur which allows them to under-report their earnings and hence pay less because the tax is imposed on net income after deduction of expenditures.

Among the prominent media personalities who did not file tax returns in 2010 and 2011 are: Faisal Qureshi, Humayun Saeed, Nauman Ejaz, Savera Nadeem, singer Hadiqa Mehmood Kiyani and writer Umera Ahmed.

Ms Kiyani released more than four albums which were said to be quite successful. The first album was released in 1995 and the fifth in 2009. But no earnings from these albums were declared. An amount of Rs368,000 was deducted at source from her income in 2011 (about Rs36,000 per month) and Rs447,000 in 2010.

Actress Atiqa Odho paid Rs536,000 as tax in 2011 and Rs480,000 in 2010, which the FBR claims did not match the earnings she made from acting, advertisements and other sources.

The FBR report reveals that Nauman Ejaz, Faisal Qureshi, Aijaz Aslam, Angeline Malik and Nadia Husain each paid less than Rs60,000 as tax in 2010. Humayun Saeed paid almost the amount in 2011. Aijaz Aslam paid only Rs300 in 2011.

Humayun Saeed performed in at least 49 dramas and produced 13 while Nauman Ejaz acted in 26 dramas and three films in 2010. The FBR report says the two earned far more than the amount on which they paid tax.

Total tax deductions from the earnings of Savera Nadeem, Faisal Qureshi, Umera Ahmad and Nadia Husain were slightly more than Rs100,000 in 2011.

Besides acting, Ms Nadeem does modelling, hosts TV shows and produces and directs dramas. In addition to acting and producing dramas, Faisal Qureshi jointly owns a clothing line -- Aijaz and Faisal.

Aijaz also owns a boutique, Ms Malik production house “Angelic Films” and Ms Husain signature lawn, a profitable business these days.

Tax return filers

Only seven celebrities filed “proper tax returns”, according to the FBR assessment for 2010 and 2011. They are: Adnan Siddiqui, singer Ali Zafar, Mehroz Karim Rind, Sohail Ahmad, Tayyaba Ali, Faiza Iftikhar and actor and producer Asif Raza Mir. But none of them filed their mandatory wealth statements.

Ali Zafar paid Rs2.601 million tax in 2011, about five per cent more than he had paid in 2010. But it should be noted that Ali found success in Bollywood in 2011. He starred in a hit film which was released in the summer of 2010. The following year, he starred in his second Bollywood film.

Tax officials have no record of the income of Asif Raza Mir, except for what he earned from his company A&B Drama Production House. With a 50 per cent share in the company, Mr Mir paid Rs6.987 million tax in 2011, a phenomenal increase over Rs776,000 he had paid in 2010.

Adnan Siddiqui’s tax profile showed a decline in earnings -- Rs82,926 in 2011 and Rs106,669 in 2010.

Famous novelist Faiza Iftikhar paid Rs366,000 tax in 2011 and only Rs99,000 in 2010.

Mehroz Karim Rind has 38 productions to his credit. He also owns MF Film and has worked for international media houses such as Sony Entertainment, India, and Prime TV, London. But the FBR record shows that he paid only Rs2.415 million in 2011 and Rs2.494 million in 2010.

Sohail Ahmad, a popular artists and comedian, is the star of Hasb-i-Hall, a popular current affairs programme. He paid Rs1.56 million tax in 2011 and Rs1.24 million in 2010.

Tayyaba Ali’s tax returns say she is in the business of washing and dry cleaning under the name of Media Gurus. She appears to be doing well because she paid Rs6.36 million tax in 2011 and Rs3.687 million in 2010. But the FBR record shows that Media Gurus is actually a marketing and advertising concern and that hers is “a clear case of concealment of actual income and under-declaration of income”.

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Comments (17) Closed

shahid Butt
Oct 27, 2012 11:06pm
This is the fault of FBR. Those people who did not file tax return or under paid their taxes, FBR must confiscate their Assets. RBR is responsible for this sad situation.
akhter husain
Oct 27, 2012 01:41pm
There is nothing new in the NEWS.We are a people of tax evaders and no section of society is free from this desease.
Oct 27, 2012 11:25pm
Evertone should pay Tax if they do not they should go to Jail,in my country you have to pay Tax and Nl contributions that is how our Health Service is run and the Police and the local council if we do not pay our Tax we do not get our bins emptied and they will be no free health service plus its taken out of your wages every month, and you even have to pay Tax after death you can never get away from it. so these people who do not pay Tax should all be sent to Jail and their assest taken off them to pay what they owe.
Oct 28, 2012 07:29am
Still better than the politicians who pay nothing at all.
robust invader
Oct 28, 2012 07:00am
tax evasion is now becoming a culture in pakistan,seems like most of the pakistanis are now in a habit of tax evasion
Saad Iqbal
Oct 28, 2012 03:31pm
Just to make it clear. if you pay higher tax in a foreign country than in your home country, you are exempted on that earning as per the Double Tax treaty. But in case if the foreign tax is lower you have to only give remaining to the home country. So - comment on Ali Zafar might be unfair in this report without first reading DTT between Pakistan and India.
Mansoor Hussain
Oct 28, 2012 04:39am
what about blackmailing TV Anchors?
Oct 28, 2012 04:35am
which part of the society is free from corruption? everything seems to be a total mess. you cant even think of a place from where to start.
Imran A.
Oct 27, 2012 06:15pm
We love you all Ali Zafar, Mehroz Karim Rind, Sohail Ahmad, Tayyaba Ali, Faiza Iftikhar and actor and Asif Raza Mir. May Allah increase your earnings.
M. Asghar
Oct 27, 2012 09:45am
To clean up this mess one has to find out as to who "ordered the FBR to stop the exercise". I see no way forwards except through the authority of the Apex Court.
Cyrus Howell
Oct 27, 2012 09:48am
Why should anyone pay taxes?
haider mehdi
Oct 27, 2012 09:31am
And someone should also investigate TV Anchors and their returns.
Sue Sturgess
Oct 27, 2012 01:01pm
Tax fraud is easily prosecuted. If authorities do not prosecute, everyone will cheat!
Ali G
Oct 28, 2012 12:56pm
it is the responsibility of the state to ensure ppl pay their taxes. How wants to give hard earned money to anyone even to parents!
Oct 27, 2012 04:55pm
You have yourself tried to make your "good" article to a bad one by wrontly claiming that Tax is calculated after deduction of Expenses and hence if you show more expenses you can shy away from paying taxes. This means you yourself either not paying taxes or are totally unware of the tax system. For your information and correction of record Tax is calculated on your Total Income less any Donation / Zakt paid and less any other Tax Credit allowed under Tax Laws. Personal expenses are not deducted before calculating tax.
Oct 27, 2012 05:52pm
Civil Service should perform according to rule and regulation of the Pakistani Tax law. Public service should be honest and unbiased. FBR should be goin after tax dodgers of all kind not just Celebrity or Politician. There should be a Whistle blower law. Pakistan should establish Tax fraud Courts to get to the bottom of this problem. We can never get away from paying taxes in US. National Assembly is responsible of making Tax Fraud Courts but they will not do it because Politician will get caught it its web.
Oct 28, 2012 03:23am
So whole Pakistan film & TV industry pay less income tax than any Khan or kumar tax return. Even some Bollywood Actress pay in crore of Rs.