ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has issued as many as 134,848 notices to high net-worth individuals across the country in order to persuade them to e-file income tax return for 2019.
The notices were issued to unregistered individuals by the respective dedicated zones of the Broadening of Tax Base (BTB) created at Regional Tax Office (RTO) Islamabad, RTO Faisalabad, RTO Rawalpindi, RTO-II and RTO-III Karachi and RTO-II Lahore.
Besides these zones, the FBR has also created range of BTBs in the remaining 13 RTOs to issue notices to the unregistered individuals. The BTB has been specifically directed to bring unregistered individuals into the tax net.
The incumbent government has been successful in broadening the tax base during the its first year in the office, as data showed that around 783,039 new taxpayers filed returns with the tax department as a result of various schemes, including a tax amnesty.
The BTB has issued the highest number of notices in Lahore. The RTO Lahore issued 37,083 notices to unregistered persons. However, the FBR has not compiled data on the compliance resulting from the issuance of these notices.
The RTO Rawalpindi has issued the second highest number of notices during the period under review. The BTB office at RTO Rawalpindi issued 21,248 notices so far. Contrary to this, the BTB office in RTO Islamabad has issued 4,600 notices so far which is much below the actual potential.
The BTB office in Peshawar has issued 15,800 notices to unregistered persons to bring them under the tax net. After Lahore, Sargodha has emerged the second city where 15,560 notices were issued to unregistered persons.
In Karachi, the RTO has issued and served notices to 10,467 unregistered individuals. Further data showed that RTO Abbottabad has issued 8,160 notices to unregistered persons. This is the highest number when considered the size of the RTO and its jurisdiction.
A senior tax official said the FBR is compiling data to assess compliance of these notices with respective RTOs. “The respective RTOs are working to identify how many of them get registered in the wake of notices,” he said.
Further data show that RTO Hyderabad issued 5,198 notices to unregistered persons, followed by 5,795 notices in Sukkur city. As part of the broadening of tax base, the BTO offices issued 1,422 notices in Bahawalpur, 363 notices in Faisalabad, 476 notices in Gujranwala, 2327 notices in Multan, 2,820 notices in Quetta, 1,777 notices in Sialkot and 1,752 notices in Sahiwal, respectively.
The total return filers in the last year reached 2.561 million as against 1.514m over the previous year, reflecting an increase of 69.1 per cent.
Published in Dawn, October 8th, 2019