FBR-670
Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) logo. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The change of the guard at the Federal Board of Revenue at the start of the fourth quarter of the current financial year and the FBR’s involvement in scrutiny of nomination papers for the general elections may affect revenue collection and preparation of the next annual budget.

“Traditionally, major concentration in the last quarter is on enhancing the collection and focusing on the next year’s budget preparation, but this year the FBR is part of scrutiny process of nomination papers filed by the candidates for the elections,” said an FBR official.

Tax collection has already witnessed a shortfall of Rs356 billion during the first nine months (July-March) of the fiscal year. The government has appointed Ansar Javed as new chairman of the FBR after the Islamabad High Court suspended the notification for appointment of outgoing chairman Ali Arshad Hakeem on April 7.

FBR officials fear that the revenue shortfall could go up further as the authority itself was not as stable as it should have been in the last quarter of a financial year.

The new chairman, who is assessing the situation after the ouster of his predecessor, has said that he would strive to establish a credible team, ensure transparency and efficiency in the working of the tax collection machinery. Therefore, he will perhaps take a few days to have an understanding of the issues.

Meanwhile, lobbying by FBR officials has been going on for grabbing the slot of member inland revenue.

The contract of Israr Rauf, member inland revenue, was terminated two days ago. The previous chairman had appointed him in September last year.Member Inland Operations Raza Baqar has gone abroad for a week, increasing the communication gap among officers.

The FBR official said the inland revenue was the main department of tax collection because it covers sales tax, income tax and federal excise duty (FED). It has been estimated that around Rs1,000bn to Rs1,200bn sales tax, Rs400bn to Rs500bn income tax and Rs300bn excise duty will be collected in the current fiscal year.

But internal politics and lobbying is likely to affect the performance of FBR which may be forced to further reduce the revenue collection target of Rs2.381 trillion for 2012-13.

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