FBR launches major drive to widen tax net

Updated 21 Nov 2018


Finance Minister Asad Umar. ─ File
Finance Minister Asad Umar. ─ File

ISLAMABAD: In a large swoop to widen tax net and ensure compliance across Pakistan, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has started a massive drive for the recovery of taxes from big and influential tax evaders, it emerged on Tuesday.

While it is the responsibility of the tax body to take actions against high-end tax evaders, the FBR has acknowledged that the drive has been launched on the instruction of federal Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Asad Umar.

The action by the FBR is part of government’s efforts to widen tax net and bring in it all those individuals who have purchased big properties, bought luxury vehicles and received property rent in millions but have not paid any tax or filed tax returns.

Action being taken against 169 tax evaders, non-filers in first phase

The FBR claimed that in the first phase, strict action was being taken against 169 tax evaders and non-filers with proven trail of large business transactions and financial deals made by them in recent times.

All such tax evaders have been identified by the FBR and are being asked to pay tax besides being subjected to heavy fines and penalties for failing to fulfil their obligations.

The FBR also decided to start action, in a phased manner, against all those tax evaders who have purchased properties worth over Rs20 million or 1800 CC engine cars or received rent to the tune of Rs10 million or more in a year but have not filed their tax returns and are not in the list of taxpayers.

In a statement, the FBR warned tax evaders to file their tax returns and pay their due taxes by Nov 30, as the drive for the recovery of tax from rich tax evaders has been launched across Pakistan.

Last week several SUVs and sports model cars were found abandoned by the Islamabad police, which were later traced to be owned by an influential person who feared raids by the customs departments.

Eight priority areas

In a meeting with the finance minister last week, the FBR had submitted a plan to launch a crackdown at eight priority areas to net the richest segments of society.

The minister was informed that the FBR had obtained information against potential tax dodgers and formal permission was required to initiate the crackdown and enforcement actions. The plan also highlighted the strategy of the crackdown.

The FBR Inland Revenue (Operations) member and Strategic Planning, Reforms & Statistics (SPR&S) member have been assigned to present a detailed strategy to increase tax collection up to the desired potential.

Like previous regimes, the PTI-led government, too, chalked out plans to introduce reforms in FBR to eradicate shady affairs in the tax collection body.

At the meeting, the finance minister noted that the use of technology would help achieve greater transparency in the FBR. To improve its information technology base, the FBR sought technical support and assistance from the Punjab Information Technology Board.

FBR, FIA harassing taxpayers: FPCCI

The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has expressed concern over the harassment of businessmen by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), creating unrest among genuine taxpayers.

Senior Vice President of the FPCCI Syed Mazhar Nasir said that despite the fact that businessmen have declared their properties under the declaration of assets scheme, announced by the government in 2017-18, they were receiving letters from the government agencies asking them to submit the details of their property which was against the policy defined in the scheme. He referred to the government’s assurance that the source of purchase of the property would not be asked from all those who declared their assets under this scheme and appealed to the finance minister to look into the matter as secrecy was the key element in making such a declaration.

Pervaiz Ishfaq Rana in Karachi also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2018