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Unjust taxes to be withdrawn, says Haroon

Updated March 27, 2018

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KARACHI: Special Adviser to Prime Minister and State Minister for Revenue Haroon Akhtar Khan on Monday said that the government intends to review tax structure.

While speaking at a pre-budget seminar, organised by the Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), Haroon acknowledged that certain taxes are unjustified and would try to convince prime minister for the review of levies such as super tax and or those share’s dividend.

The government’s target was to encourage taxpayers to come under tax net and earn more revenue through lower tax rates, he said.

He underlined the need for building a strong revenue base for country’s economic prosperity and development. “We would have to increase the tax-to-GDP ratio to 20 per cent at least, which currently stands at 12.5pc. But, this could be done only through strong collaboration between Federal Board of Revenue and the country’s business community.”

He said that the draft was ready and the Amnesty Scheme would be announced before the coming budget if the government gets approval from the Supreme Court of Pakistan. “We are waiting for the court’s verdict,” he reassured.

When his attention was drawn to the difficulty in opening Letter of Credit (L/C) for doing trade with Iran, the minister said, “Unfortunately our banks are hesitant to open their branches in Iran.”

He added that the audit policy required improvement, saying that interval between two audits should be around3-4 years. “Otherwise, it would create unnecessary harassment among the business community,” he continued.

He pointed out that many people were duly paying their taxes but were not tax filers for certain reasons, such as government officials who mostly were non filers simply because their taxes are deducted from salaries at source. However, he added, the government would not support this theory. Even the tax filers were found involved in tax evasion at large scale.

Haroon emphasised on the need to fully document economy and said the government had succeeded in setting up certain standards in FBR which can’t be reversed by any future governments.

Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2018