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Many leading Pakistani cricketers don’t file tax returns

Published Oct 09, 2012 03:14am


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Kamran Akmal has been playing for Pakistan since 2002 but does not figure on the tax roll. -File photo

ISLAMABAD: Cricket is big entertainment and now big money as well. And those playing the game hit as many boundaries with the money as they do with the ball.

Though this is not news, details of the FBR’s tax profiles of national cricketers highlight the nationwide tendency not to pay taxes or ignore the paperwork in this regard.

The FBR’s investigations have focused on 21 cricketers who, according to the bureau, did not file tax returns and/or used other loopholes in the system to keep their moolah safe from the prying eyes of tax authorities. The information was collected by the FBR’s intelligence directorate.

In most cases, cricketers have had the tax deducted at source — which means that the tax is deducted at the time they are being paid and it is deducted by the organisation making the payment. In their case, it is the PCB.

However, most citizens whose tax is deducted at source still need to file tax returns. Under the Income Tax Ordinance 2001, individuals file income tax returns to reveal all their taxable sources of income.

And those who have more than one source of income but do not file returns are guilty of default and hence can be fined or penalised.

The minimum penalty for not filing returns/statements/wealth statements starts from Rs5,000 and can be as high as 25 per cent of the tax payable in a year. The non-filer will either declare his total income for assessment of tax in a year or tax official will declare it ex-party.

The cricketers investigated by FBR are guilty of not filing their tax returns, which experts feel, indicates that they may not be disclosing their other sources of income where the tax is not deducted at time of payment.

More serious still, six cricketers don’t figure on the tax roll at all — Rana Naveed-ul-Hassan, Wahab Riaz, Asad Shafiq, Tanvir Ahmed, Yasir Arafat and Kamran Akmal.

They have played First Class cricket, and/or for the national cricket team (NCT), for years. For example, Kamran Akmal has been playing for Pakistan since 2002 and Rana Naveed and Yasir Arafat since 2007.

Wahab Riaz, Asad Shafiq and Tanvir Ahmad played First Class cricket before they joined the national team in 2010, 2007 and 2010 respectively. The Pakistan Cricket Board did deduct tax from their remunerations for international matches, tournaments and other related activities. The National Bank of Pakistan did the same with Kamran Akmal, when he was playing for the bank.

But because the six never filed their tax returns, they do not possess a National Tax Number (NTN), without which one cannot even buy a new car in Pakistan.

At the same time, be it those who do not file tax returns or those who do not have an NTN, the tax department has no clue whether these players paid tax on their non-PCB earnings.

Such undocumented earning can come from domestic cricket they may have played for PIA, UBL, HBL, etc, district level clubs or any international cricket played outside of the PCB net such as for English counties including Sussex, Essex and Yorkshire.

For instance, according to the report, Yasir Arafat played for nine domestic and international teams, Tanvir Ahmad for four domestic teams, Asad Shafiq for nine domestic teams, Wahab Riaz for seven domestic and international teams, Rana Naveed-ul-Hassan for 12 domestic and international teams.

Interestingly, however, the tax department has no record of the money any of these cricketers may have earned from commercial international tournaments, such as the Indian and Bangladesh Premier Leagues.

Any income earned abroad and repatriated to Pakistan through banking channels is exempted from income tax but not from being declared. This money has to be declared which these cricketers have not done.

Among the 15 prominent players who are on the tax roll, many did not file annual tax returns for 2010 and 2011, although they may have earned huge amounts in that period from domestic and international cricket. These are Imran Farhat, Saeed Ajmal, Taufiq Umer, Muhammad Umer Akmal, Abdul Rehman, Umar Gul, and Sohail Tanveer.

Imran Farhat and Taufiq Umer have been on the national team since 2001, Umar Gul since 2003, Abdul Rehman and Sohail Tanveer since 2007, Saeed Ajmal since 2008, and Muhammad Umer Akmal since 2009. But they have filed no tax returns though the PCB has deducted tax.

Misbahul Haq, who has served as captain during the current series against Australia, filed only an employer’s statement about his earnings in 2010 but nothing the next year.

Muhammad Hafeez, captain of the T20 matches in the same series against Australia has also behaved similarly.

Senior cricketers such as Muhammad Younus Khan and Shoaib Akhtar have also been guilty of this.

Last but not least, none of the cricketers has filed his wealth statement.

Under the income tax law, those who pay more than Rs35, 000 in income tax in a year, are also supposed to file a wealth statement; this is mandatory.

Captain of the national test and ODI teams, Misbah-ul-Haq has paid at source Rs1.479 million in taxes in 2011, less than half the Rs3.362 million that he paid in 2010.

The incumbent captain of the national T20 team, Muhammad Hafeez has not filed any return, but a tax of Rs1.33 million has been deducted at source from his income as tax in tax year 2011 as against Rs0.351 million in tax in 2010, showing an increase of 278 per cent.

Former captain of the national cricket team, Shoaib Malik, paid Rs1.179 million tax in 2011 as against Rs3.976 million in tax in 2010, showing a decline of 70 per cent.

All rounder and former captain of national cricket team Shahid Khan Afridi paid an amount of Rs6.874 million as tax in tax year 2011 as against Rs3.195 million paid in tax year 2010, showing an increase of 115 per cent.

Former Captain of NCT Muhammad Younus Khan paid Rs1.362 million as tax in tax year 2011 as against Rs1.896 million taxes that he paid in tax year 2010, showing a decline of 28 per cent.

Shoaib Akhtar, the former fast bowler, paid 2.583 million as tax in 2011.


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Comments (51) Closed

Mobeen Oct 09, 2012 08:42am
When I was hired by my employer, they held a short orientation on the things that were important, such as filing of taxes and showed me presentations on what documents will be provided to me by my employer. What is the bureaucratic giant like PCB doing not guiding and helping the cricketers in this regard. These boys are not highly educated and a little help will keep them out of trouble.
Shabut Oct 09, 2012 01:15pm
98% don't pay it in Pakistan so no point of highlighting cricketers.
gp65 Oct 09, 2012 02:51pm
Pretty much everyone pays indirect taxes such as sales tax but only 1% pays income tax.
Hello1 Oct 09, 2012 02:49pm
Big deal when the really big fish conceal their incomes and falsify their returns!
IndianDude Oct 09, 2012 06:00pm
It is understandable why pakistani cricketers dont file their ta return. The $$ made by fixing matches are not taxable!!
Rashid Oct 09, 2012 05:28pm
This is us, this is our nation, we are rotten to the core, and yet we always just want to criticize the politicians. We got to take care of corruption at the grass root level, and one day when we have an honest nation, then only we will have honest politicians. So I request media that instead of criticizing politicians 24 hours a day, please concentrate towards the general people of Pakistan too.
Raw is War Oct 09, 2012 05:27pm
they are kings.
Azghar Oct 09, 2012 09:51pm
Not surprised.. they are all cheats and fixers who take cash in hand.. so no need to pay taxes.
Aayan Oct 09, 2012 01:13pm
Not paying tax is an offense and punishable under the the rule of law. Crime has no privacy. None of these players should be allowed to play untill they are current on their taxes.
Eric M. Oct 09, 2012 04:59pm
How much tax did the members of parlimant paid? Can you please do an article on that as well?
Yawar Oct 10, 2012 01:06am
That is the problem in Pakistan. Criminals are never revealed.
Cyrus Howell Oct 09, 2012 07:56am
The head in the clouds syndrome. They are too important to bother with paying taxes, and as we all know they are not payed enough money.
Ali Oct 09, 2012 02:14pm
" Moolah" Really?
Nadeem USA Oct 09, 2012 02:47pm
Agree. Paying Tax is a national duty, but nobody in Pakistan know what the national duty. Tax need to imposed on agricultar; landlords need to pay tax too. Agricultar tax will be a big source of revenue for both federal and provencial governments. but the problem is, who is going to impose agri tax?
Syed Oct 09, 2012 09:02pm
Why should they pay taxes? if they can get away with betting, putting country's name to shame, they can get away with anything, especially the Akmal brothers,
Goga Nalaik Oct 09, 2012 09:13am
Paying taxes is something new in this country. Government should announce sever punishments to all non tax payers. No other writen or verbal argument will do. As far our cricket stars are concerned, it is the moral duty of our media (especially audio visual) to expose them all and without any exception.
Cyrus Howell Oct 09, 2012 07:58am
In America they are called "the boys of summer" because they have the job every boy wants.
Vgp Oct 09, 2012 12:37pm
Pray why would they pay tax when most of their earnings is under the table, or maybe inside a jacket
Saurav Oct 09, 2012 12:55pm
heard today that pakistani umpires were exposed in a sting operation on "India TV" accepting and confirming that they can give a batsman out for money.The umpires named in the sting operation are Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui of Pakistan . It proves again that pakistan players and umpires are corrupt.
Muslim Oct 09, 2012 11:28pm
this is great news dawn .......u r doing great job .i hope when end to times comes im near u r office
Muhammad Omer Khan Oct 09, 2012 01:32pm
Well, h What percentage of our population pays taxes?
Rashid Oct 10, 2012 10:54am
I am surprised that Pakistanis legally don't need to pay taxes on money they earn abroad. In most countries you pay your taxes in the country of your regular residence irrespective of where you earn the money.
Chinmay Oct 09, 2012 04:10pm
I agree with these cricketers. How come money earned from betting and fixing be declared and filed?
Goga Nalaik Oct 09, 2012 10:52am
I've just read in another pak newspaper's blog that Shahid Afridi has earned more than 100 millions in 2011 only from commercial adds. If he has paid 6,874 million as tax in 2011, it means he has cheated in a big way ...
Yawar Oct 10, 2012 01:02am
and of course no Indian umpire was identified because, after all, Indians are the most honest people on the face of this earth
malik Oct 10, 2012 02:17pm
if president, prime minister, senators, ministers don't pay taxes.. why should anyone else pay taxes? former pm nawaz paid Rs.5000
Yawar Oct 10, 2012 12:59am
How can anyone expect the population to be honest and pay their fair share of taxes when their heroes are not doing so? It is time to reveal and prosecute each and every delinquint tax-payerespecially our heroes. Or else this problem will continue to get worse.
Ahmed Oct 09, 2012 08:35pm
Only that we report it and you guys always point fingers at Pakistanis !!!
Nabeel Oct 09, 2012 08:21pm
Woe to a nation whose heroes dont perform even the most rudimentary of duties.
faaziz Oct 10, 2012 07:15am
Why should anyone care to pay taxes in this state? Its not like Govt. really cares for tax payers.
Talat Ali Hamdany Oct 10, 2012 07:15am
When the former and sitting Presidents and Prime Ministers don't and have not paid taxes then why should anybody else. A former Prime Minister bought a helicopter and had not paid any income tax. A president has 60 million in a bank in Europe who is asking?
Faisal Oct 10, 2012 06:54am
how come Indian empires and cricketers have not been approached in this so called sting operation and who told that by not including them in this drama is the guarantee that they have a clean chit ..... Be realistic and think sensible.
A. Khan Oct 10, 2012 05:36pm
How about targeting the back handers they get for throwing their wickets ? And I a country where the President is a shyster and the PM a crook, why would anyone want to pay taxes ?
TALI Oct 10, 2012 06:07am
How many parlimentarians pay taxes? when politicians and people holding offices don't pay then why the cricketers are being singled out. they should very mcuh pay their fair share of taxes, but please also publish other prominent personalities and groups who don't much or any taxes at all.
aldo Oct 09, 2012 05:44pm
you heard that on india tv huh?
Tawheed Oct 10, 2012 02:49am
First ask those in the FBR, are they paying all the taxes they should??? And our "beloved" President, has he filed his tax returns for ALL the money that he has "earned"???
vasist Oct 10, 2012 05:21am
still your are considering themselves as heroes then you are real fools.
Kashif Oct 10, 2012 05:14am
If you have watched the video it's clear that it's nothing but the creation of indian mentality. The channel never interviewed any umpiers. why?
Irtiza Oct 10, 2012 04:42am
As if India is overflowing with pious people
bilal asif Oct 10, 2012 04:35am
few people think the can hide thier corpt practices by just blaming others...eventually they realise the are fools of highest degree...India is the biggest gambling market.. cheers budy..
Bilal Asif Oct 10, 2012 04:27am
what about the untaxed income from add revenue and magic shows like IPL DCL ABC matches....
Muhammad Raza Oct 10, 2012 04:14am
A common citizen would say, "If they don't pay, why should I?"
Ali Oct 10, 2012 03:03am
Your last names says it all. Income - expenses for the purpose of job are taxed and there is no way for to know his expenses.
Keen Observer Oct 10, 2012 02:43am
educate the masses, and fix the tax system and collections will happen. I still see ranges of Rs. 1-6 million taxes paid by players of all sizes, far better than the politicians of our country. Nevertheless, no excuse for not paying taxes. I will ask them to come forward, pay your taxes and will give them a break.
skeptic Oct 09, 2012 02:57pm
not surprised only saddened as these people make a lot of money and wear the tag of nationalism on their sleeves. hypocrisy is our new national anthem
Syed Oct 09, 2012 09:05pm
Not to mention T20 in Australia, same in Bangladesh and this year he is on as well.
asd Oct 09, 2012 09:47am
While I agree with the message here; how is it that this information is being disclosed to the public? Is this normal? They are not public office holders or anything of the sort. Shouldn't this information for most citizens be confidential? Or do tax evaders lose their right to privacy? (Sounds fair to me :) )
Ch Taimoor Oct 09, 2012 09:53am
They are our heros :)
Concerned Citizen Oct 09, 2012 07:43pm
And the ones corrupting them are angels sent from heaven.
GH Oct 09, 2012 03:24pm
We do not teach our children that once they start earning,they need to file income tax return every year even if their employer is withholding tax money.
Muhammad Omer Khan Oct 09, 2012 01:30pm
6874 million?, that's 60 times what he earned. improve your Maths man.