ISLAMABAD: In a major development, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Tuesday announced that it had removed 509,039 late return filers for the tax year 2020 from the Active Taxpayers List (ATL) as penalty and linked their inclusion with the payment of surcharges.

The taxpayers were not included in this year’s ATL as they could not file their tax returns within due date or the date extended by the respective commissioners and had not paid the ATL surcharge.

An official announcement issued here said that such taxpayers can get themselves automatically included in the ATL if they pay the necessary surcharge. The amount of ATL surcharge for companies is Rs20,000, association of persons (AoPs) Rs10,000 and for individuals Rs1,000.

The FBR encourages such taxpayers to pay respective amount of ATL surcharge and take benefits of the active list.

At the same time, the FBR has urged taxpayers to file returns for TY20 (tax year) who did not file their returns earlier to avail the benefit of ATL.

The request came from the tax machinery a couple of days after the release of total number of returns filers, which reached 2.62 million by Feb 28. For TY19, the total return filers were 2.9m.

Top officials of the FBR were reluctant to extend the last date from Dec 8, 2020, but are now requesting taxpayers to file returns along with the ATL surcharge.

When contacted, FBR spokesperson Nadeem Rizvi told Dawn that late filers would be subjected to penalties after issuance of notices to them. Only the payment of surcharge would allow them to be placed on the ATL, he added.

The FBR has issued notices to nearly 2.1m taxpayers who were supposed to file returns, have filed nil returns, mis-declared their assets or have not been filing returns for sales tax to comply with their legal obligations.

“The exercise is eliciting encouraging response. However, those who are not complying would be pursued diligently until compliance is achieved,” the spokesperson said.

Published in Dawn, March 3rd, 2021

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