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Notices issued to over 20 cricketers for tax evasion

November 02, 2012

Kamran Akmal reacts after scoring fifty runs against England during a one day international cricket match in Durham, England, Sept 10, 2010. — Photo by AP/File

ISLAMABAD, Nov 2: The income tax department has issued notices to over 20 cricketers who were found to have evaded taxes over the past two years. More than Rs100 million is expected to be recovered from them in back taxes.

This is the first time that notices have been issued to cricket celebrities who will be grilled about tax liabilities.

The investigation department has already compiled the tax profiles of 21 cricketers on the basis of information collected by the income tax intelligence directorate of the FBR.

A senior income tax official told Dawn on Friday that the Regional Tax Office (RTO), Lahore, had issued notices to Umer Akmal, Misbahul Haq, Kamran Akmal, Abdul Razaq, Mohammad Hafeez, Azhar Ali, Imran Farhat, Rana Naveedul Hassan, Saeed Ajmal, Taufiq Umar and Wahab Riaz.

In most cases, the cricketers have their tax deducted at source. They did not file tax returns and found legal ways to pay less by fitting themselves in the category of low tax liability.

According to the official, most of them paid tax at the rate of six per cent (minimum slab) which is a violation of the income tax ordinance. In accordance with their income they should have been in the higher tax slab.

The official said that an amount of Rs7.5 million was expected to be recovered from Umar Akmal alone.

RTO Karachi issued notices to Shahid Afridi, Younus Khan, Abdul Rahman, Asad Shafiq and Tanvir Ahmad; RTO Sialkot to former captain Shoaib Malik and RTO Peshawar to Umar Gul.

According to the official, RTO Rawalpindi has finalised notices to be served on Shoaib Akhtar, Sohail Tanveer and Yassir Arafat.

And six cricketers -- Rana Naveed-ul-Hassan, Wahab Riaz, Asad Shafiq, Tanvir Ahmed, Yassir Arafat and Kamran Akmal -- do not figure on the tax roll at all.

Among the 15 prominent players on the tax roll, seven did not file tax returns in 2010 and 2011, although they might have earned huge amounts of money during that period from domestic and international cricket. They are: Imran Farhat, Saeed Ajmal, Taufiq Umer, Umer Akmal, Abdul Rehman, Umar Gul and Sohail Tanveer.

Misbahul Haq, who was captain during the recent series against Australia, filed only an employer’s statement about his earnings in 2010, but nothing the following year. Muhammad Hafeez, who captained the T20 matches in the same series, did the same.

Senior cricketers Mohammad Younus Khan and Shoaib Akhtar have been found to have done the same.

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

Under the income tax law, it is mandatory for a person paying more than Rs35,000 in income tax a year to file the wealth statement.