ISLAMABAD: The number of invoices verified by customers who shopped at big retail outlets integrated with the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) point-of-sale system more than tripled to 153,000 in January from 45,000 a month ago.

Similarly, the number of invoices issued by tier-1 retailers integrated with the FBR’s POS system rose 12pc to around 37 million invoices in January from 33m in December, the FBR said in a press release on Friday.

However, 29,000 invoices issued by these retailers couldn’t be verified and were presumably fake, it said.

The number of customers who verified their invoices jumped from 10,000 to 27,000 within a month.

Among various initiatives launched by the FBR to maximise tax compliance through digitising business transactions, automating its operations and facilitating taxpayers, the POS system is a key intervention aimed at monitoring sales made by tier-1 retailers across the country.

Adding value to this critically important sector and plug revenue leakages, the FBR has launched an aggressive awareness campaign on the mainstream national media to educate and engage consumers to ensure that tax collected from them at the point of sale is deposited into the state exchequer and not pocketed by the retailers themselves.

Of 37m invoices issued by tier-1 retailers in January, 29,000 were ‘fake’

Furthermore, the campaign also encompasses a prize scheme worth Rs53 million to be disbursed among 1,007 winners selected through a computerised ballot to be held on the 15th of every month at FBR’s headquarters in Islamabad.

The first ballot has already been conducted in front of the TV channels and the winners were contacted live during the ceremony. Around 800 winners have also been transferred prize money into their accounts after the due diligence and required verification.

“This is truly an unprecedented example of involving citizens in tax compliance and raising their awareness about their national responsibility to not pay their due tax but also safeguard the same from being stolen on its way to the national exchequer,” the FBR said.

The second computerised ballot will be held on Feb 15 (Tuesday).

FBR Chairman Ashfaq Ahmed has urged citizens to launch a national movement to promote a culture of tax compliance. He has suggested a three-pronged strategy to ensure that sales tax collected from customers at the point of sale was actually being deposited in the state exchequer.

He has proposed that people should shop only from those tier-1 retail outlets that were integrated with the FBR POS system, demand a computerised invoice and verify it through the FBR tax app.

“It is further encouraging to witness that a huge number of customers are verifying their shopping receipts through FBR’s Tax Asaan Mobile App and SMS.

People are also reaching out to the field formations as well as FBR [headquarters] to seek necessary guidance about this innovative prize scheme,” the press release said.

“This initiative of engagement of customers is all set to pick momentum and thus accelerate the desired national drive to promote tax compliance and substantially increase revenues.

It also aims to incentivise people to play their role as responsible citizens and compliant taxpayers,” it said.

Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2022

Opinion

Paterfamilias?

Paterfamilias?

Through a series of judgements, SC made CJP’s recommendations for judicial appointments virtually binding on president.

Editorial

Economic restructuring
Updated 06 Aug, 2022

Economic restructuring

All the policies and tough decisions implemented by the PML-N-led ruling coalition have so far translated to firefighting.
Kashmir’s plight
06 Aug, 2022

Kashmir’s plight

THREE years after the BJP-led government in New Delhi made its ill-advised move to do away with the autonomous...
Extinction risks
06 Aug, 2022

Extinction risks

WE may be at risk of losing our natural treasures before even getting a chance to truly appreciate them. According ...
Gutting NAB
Updated 05 Aug, 2022

Gutting NAB

Recent changes to NAB's governing laws go well beyond an attempt to reform the organisation.
Plastic menace
05 Aug, 2022

Plastic menace

WHILE plastic waste poses a major threat to the environment and human health, and authorities have over the years...
Commonwealth triumph
05 Aug, 2022

Commonwealth triumph

IT took five days but given the rousing manner in which it happened it was worth the wait. Finally, Pakistan could...