A view of the Senate.  — Dawn File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Senate was informed on Wednesday that 690,287 taxpayers had ‘mysteriously disappeared’ from the tax net in the past one year, highlighting the incompetence and mismanagement of the country’s tax machinery.

In a written reply to a question by Senator Abdul Haseeb Khan, who sought details of tax return filers over the past three years and status of the proposed tax amnesty schemes, Minister of State for Finance Saleem H. Mandviwalla said 811,343 persons filed returns in tax year 2012 as against 1.501 million in the previous year.

He said 3.388m national tax numbers (NTN) were issued till June 2012 as against 3.168m of corresponding period of last year.

Mr Mandviwalla said the tax department would approach 1.2m to 1.5m people to bring them into tax net.

He said the FBR possessed data about 7.5m people who owned credit cards and property and undertook foreign tours. “All these people will be brought under the tax net,” the state minister said.

The discrepancy in data about tax returns had emerged from the data of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) when it was compared with the figures compiled and maintained by Pakistan Revenue Automation (Pvt) Limited (Pral), a subsidiary of the FBR.

The FBR had approached Nadra in the recent past to locate potential people who are not in the tax net but earn taxable income. The exercise led to the cleaning of the data of tax return filers. The FBR is still clueless about the missing taxpayers.

The state minister said the FBR was offering an opportunity to non-filers of tax returns to come within the tax system in an honourable and easy manner.

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