ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Friday the number of taxpayers filing returns has gone up by almost 50 per cent over the last four years.
Mr Dar said this while launching the tax directory for 2015-16, which features details of 1.21 million taxpayers, including companies, associations of persons and individuals.
“Initiatives taken by the government to broaden the tax base are yielding the desired results,” he said.
Less than half of registered companies filed tax returns in 2015-16
The finance minister said tax revenues grew from Rs1.94 trillion in 2013 to Rs3.36tr last year.
Only 30,000 companies filed their returns in 2015-16, less than half the number of firms registered with the corporate-sector regulator, SECP. This reflects the low level of tax compliance within the corporate sector.
Moreover, several hundred companies filed returns showing zero taxes in 2015-16.
The number of returns filed by associations of persons was 55,000. The number of individuals who filed their tax returns with the FBR was 1.13m.
In contrast, the total number of people who were issued national tax numbers was 4.2m. This reflects poor tax compliance in the category of individuals.
It is the fourth directory released in as many years by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
Banks were top taxpayers in 2015-16. Habib Bank paid Rs16.47 billion, United Bank Rs15.22bn, Allied Bank Rs8.87bn, National Bank of Pakistan Rs7.05bn, Habib Metropolitan Bank Rs4.97bn, Standard Chartered Bank Rs4.25bn and Zarai Taraqiati Bank Rs3.24bn.
Other banks paying heavy taxes include Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which contributed Rs1.12bn to the exchequer, Askari Bank Rs2.51bn and Meezan Bank Rs1.66bn.
In the non-banking sector, Pak-Arab Refinery was the top taxpayer with a contribution of Rs10.36bn, followed by Pakistan State Oil Rs8.16bn, Government Holdings (Private) Ltd Rs7.96bn, Oil and Gas Development Company Rs5.65bn, Kot Addu Power Company Rs5.03bn, Indus Motor Company Rs5.48bn, United Energy Pakistan Rs4.63bn, Nestle Pakistan Rs4.03bn, Lucky Cement Rs4.54bn, Pakistan Tobacco Company Rs3.31bn, and Telenor Pakistan Rs3.73bn.
Companies that paid taxes in the range of Rs2bn and Rs3bn include Huawei Technologies Pakistan that contributed Rs2.25bn, followed by Kirthar Pakistan BV Rs2.02bn, National Refinery Rs2.09bn and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Rs2.71bn.
According to the directory, Attock Petroleum contributed Rs1.86bn to the national kitty, Kohat Cement Rs1.31bn, Pakistan Telecommunication Company Rs1.1bn, Pakistan Security Printing Corporation Rs1.24bn, Abbott Laboratories Rs1.38bn and Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development Rs1.13bn.
Mr Dar said the tax directory was the manifestation of the government’s commitment to providing access to information to the general public. It should help in creating public awareness, motivation and transparency, he added.
Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2017