KARACHI: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Jahanzeb Khan sought business community’s help to meet the Rs220 billion revenue shortfall while meeting with business leaders at the Federation House on Saturday.
The chairman announced that an IT-based system to identify and hunt potential taxpayers will be launched in the next budget. However, he added that around Rs1.75 billion have been recovered from some 6,000 individuals who were identified through the system.
Khan said the government is formulating new rules against benami accounts and the FBR will be tasked to oversee implementation of these laws adding that assets parked in these accounts will be confiscated.
Moreover, he said that in order to comply with the requirements by the Financial Action Task Force, all airports and airlines have been asked to monitor individuals suspected of currency smuggling.
Responding to a concern raised by Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) President Daroo Khan Achakzai, the chairman said that FBR strongly opposes harassment and is committed to facilitate and respect taxpayers and not cause them any harm.
The chairman said that the number of taxpayers in the country is significantly low due to hidden wealth and large scale tax evasions. He said tax evaders have been served notices but most of them have not submitted their response. But he vowed that these individuals will be actively pursued with the help of IT-based system which can extract information on their living standards, travel expenses and children education fee with the help of single click.
Jahanzeb Khan noted that slump in revenue collection is the outcome of economic slowdown but the government is focused on macro-economic stabilisation and is working to increase revenues through investment.
On FPCCI’s demand, the chairman announced to set-up business liaison cell in his office where business community can have immediate contact to resolving their pressing issues.
He also agreed that tax returns may be allowed for revision after but legal aspect will have to be looked into before any decision. He dispelled the impression that there were leakages from FBR in the last tax amnesty and added that some of the cases which were picked up by the Federal Investigation Authority were resolved after FBR was approached.
He assured the business community that he would be visiting Karachi twice a month to resolve the grievances of businessmen.
The FBR chief indicated that forthcoming budget would reduce taxes, particularly those which generate low revenues such as withholding tax, and will focus toward increasing direct taxes and decreasing indirect taxes.
Published in Dawn, March 17th, 2019