KARACHI: The Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU), Karachi in a drive to broaden tax base (BTB) has traced out over 100,000 unregistered commercial gas connections and also framed cases of tax avoidance worth Rs100 billion in the last four months (July-Oct).

Speaking at a news briefing held at Karachi headquarters on Wednesday, LTU Zone 3 Commissioner Girdhari Mal said that most large taxpayers from corporate sector with a turnover of over Rs400 million or tax amount of Rs20m do not indulge in evasion but are involved in tax avoidance.

He further explained that the world over, taxpayers engage in avoidance and there was nothing wrong about it since that helps interpret the law. However, he was quick to say that tax evasion was a crime and LTU taxpayers are mostly compliant.

Mal said that already Rs23 billion has been recovered in connection with tax avoidance cases by LTU and added that fiscal laws generally need interpretation through courts.

Referring to a right of getting information by tax authorities from banks about account holders, the commissioner said things are in process and added that on Nov 7, there was a hearing in the court because banks took stay order to this regard in 2013.

He disclosed that the court has ordered Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Syed Shabbar Zaidi to hold consultative meetings to find a way out as to how bank client information could be shared.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2019