A team of the FBR said that data about people who owned luxury cars and big houses but never paid any tax had been collected. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: A special committee of the Public Accounts Committee was informed on Monday that the government would soon launch a crackdown on 700,000 tax-evaders. A team of the Federal Board of Revenue led by senior member Mehmood Alam said at a meeting of the committee presided over by Riaz Pirzada of the PML-Q that data about people who owned luxury cars and big houses but never paid any tax had been collected with the help of the National Database and Registration Authority.

Members of the committee had asked the FBR officials to tell the meeting why the increasing number of luxury vehicles and posh housing societies all over the country had no positive impact on revenue collection.

The meeting was informed that initially the defaulters would be asked to pay taxes voluntarily but if they did not pay heed to the appeal, a countrywide crackdown would be launched.

The FBR officials said tax would be calculated on the basis of period during which the evaders had built big houses and bought luxury vehicles.

They expressed the hope that because of the computerised data chances of getting away with tax evasion would now be reduced to a great extent.

They said taxes of Rs120 billion were stuck up because of litigations. Although the FBR was trying to recover the unpaid taxes, it had become a big problem and a considerable amount was being spent on hiring lawyers to pursue cases, they added.

“Every time, we approach the tax defaulters, a stay order is handed over to us,” said a frustrated official. For effective recovery of taxes, he said, the hearing of the cases would have to be expedited.

The committee was surprised when audit officials informed it that the FBR had lost the record of audit objections of about Rs650 million.

Hamid Yaar Hiraj of the PML-Q walked out of the meeting in protest against the loss of the record.

The committee directed the FBR to submit a report on the matter within a month.

“It has become a routine that important official records are either deliberately burnt or left unprotected,” Mr Pirzada remarked.

The committee also recommended registration of criminal cases within a couple of weeks against the FBR officials found involved in facilitating tax evasion.

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