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ISLAMABAD: Revenue collection for fiscal year 2018 suffered from a massive shortfall of Rs184 billion despite a downward revision of the target mid year, according to provisional data released by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Monday.

Additionally, the first official release of collections under the amnesty scheme showed Rs90bn had been deposited thus far on account of foreign and domestic amnesty scheme.

This figure has was not been included in the overall collection for the outgoing fiscal year. FBR did not clarify whether proceeds from the amnesty scheme will be revised further since a large amount may still be stuck in the pipeline due to delays encountered during remittance.

The provisional revenue collection reached Rs3,751bn, which is lower than the target set at Rs3,935bn. The FBR had initially targeted a total collection of Rs4,103bn for the fiscal year.

A growth of 11.37 per cent was recorded during 2017-18, from Rs3,368bn revenue collection in the previous year. FBR claimed to have issued Rs45bn more refunds than the previous year. However, the total amount of refunds was not disclosed.

Annual assigned revenue targets for Inland Revenue Service and Customs were Rs 3,335 bn and Rs600bn, respectively. Whereas, Customs has surpassed its target by Rs6bn, Inland Revenue fell short by Rs190bn. Tax-wise break-up of revenue collected shows that collection on account of income tax reached Rs1,441bn as against the target of Rs1,562bn, reflecting higher-than-expected shortfall of Rs121bn in the outgoing fiscal year.

The sales tax collection fell short by Rs53bn as its proceeds amounted to Rs1,488bn as against the target of Rs1,541bn for the same period.

The collection on account of federal excise duty reached Rs216bn versus the benchmark of Rs232bn, indicating a gap of Rs16bn.

Customs duty collection surpassed the target by Rs6bn as its proceeds hit Rs606bn compared to the target of Rs600bn projected for the same year, as a result emerging as the only federal tax that exceeded expectations.

The caretaker Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar was also given a special briefing on the revenue performance by top officials of the FBR last week. The minister categorically informed the board that money raised from the amnesty scheme should not be counted as a feather in the cap of the FBR, as it was due to the amnesty scheme’s incentive.

It was in this background, that FBR has not included the proceeds raised from the amnesty scheme in the overall revenue collection of the tax machinery. As a result, the slackness in the tax department has also been exposed which is clear from the massive shortfalls.

The outgoing PML-N government announced a one-time tax amnesty scheme for taxpayers to clear their domestic and foreign assets. The performance of most of the regional tax offices along with few large taxpayers unit in terms of revenue collection remained far behind the projected targets.

The Election Commission of Pakistan is also awaiting response from the FBR for reshuffling top tax officials in the field as part of the upcoming elections. So far, the provincial governments have transferred more than 2,000 officers in the four provinces.

Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2018