Move to bring over 22m individuals under tax net

Published November 30, 2021
A senior official said the documentation drive will begin in December with a mass media campaign to appraise people to come under the tax net on a voluntary basis. — AFP/File
A senior official said the documentation drive will begin in December with a mass media campaign to appraise people to come under the tax net on a voluntary basis. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: In a large drive to widen the tax net and check evasion, the government has evolved a plan for broadening of tax base along with a documentation drive from December to bring over 22 million people under the fold.

At a high-level meeting chaired by Adviser on Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin, details of the plan were discussed. The finance adviser tasked the tax machinery to implement the strategy in a phase-wise manner.

Speaking to Dawn, a senior official said the documentation drive will begin in December with a mass media campaign to appraise people to come under the tax net on a voluntary basis.

“People will be sensitised about the legal implication in case they did not come under the tax net. The documentation drive will assist in ascertaining untapped segments including businesses and real estate,” the official explained. “We have identified 22.2 million potential taxpayers.”

Data of 15 million potential taxpayers was gathered from the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) while information on the remaining 7.2 million individuals was collected from various sources by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), the official shared.

As per the proposed plan, notices will be issued to 100,000 to 300,000 individuals monthly. “We will not issue notices in bulk,” the official said, adding that these will be properly monitored and pursued at the level of regional tax offices.

On Monday, Chairman FBR Ashfaq Ahmed and his team gave a detailed presentation on the progress of readiness for potential taxpayer outreach initiatives to boost revenue growth and resource mobilisation.

An official announcement said the FBR chairman apprised the finance adviser that pragmatic steps had been initiated for compilation of data with the support of Nadra. The data would be available to potential and current taxpayers in a presentable and comprehensible manner through a web portal.

Key challenges to reaching out to potential and current taxpayers, public awareness and confidence building measures taken by the FBR were also discussed in the meeting.

Mr Tarin stressed that efficient and robust communication with the taxpayers should be at the centre of activity to harness public support for the efforts for broadening the tax base and promoting tax compliance culture in the country.

He advised the FBR team to double down their efforts and launch the taxpayer outreach initiative at the earliest to expand the existing tax base and boost the revenue collection.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2021

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