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Govt plans to bring 5m people in tax net by 2021: FBR official

Crackdown to be launched against tax evaders starting April 1

SAMAA | - Posted: Mar 28, 2019 | Last Updated: 3 years ago
Posted: Mar 28, 2019 | Last Updated: 3 years ago

The Federal Board of Revenue is planning to majorly expand the tax base as the total number of tax filers is likely to reach five million in the next two years.

“We will take measures to expand the tax base in the upcoming budget and the plan is to involve 5 million people in the active tax payers list,” said Dr Hamid Atiq Sarwar, a member of the IR policy in the FBR in a briefing to the media in Islamabad on Thursday.

According to the proposed plan, the total number of tax filers is likely to reach four million till 2020 and then five million till 2021, he said.

The FBR member said that currently, 1,762,873 people have filed tax returns which also includes more than 200,000 new filers.  An additional Rs29.72 billion in tax revenue is generated from these new returns, he said, sharing the figure from last year of the total number of tax returns.

Meanwhile, FBR is faced a shortfall of Rs236 billion in tax collections in the first eight months of the on-going fiscal year.

Related: Nine tax evaders arrested by the FBR in three months

During July to February 2018-19, Rs2330 billion tax was collected against a target of Rs2566 billion while the annual tax target is Rs4398 billion, said the FBR official.

There are number of reasons for this shortfall, including Rs75 billion less collections from the petroleum and gas sector. Similarly, there was a shortfall of revenue collection of Rs35 billion each from the salaried class and telecom sector, said Seema Shakeel, a member of FBR’s IR operations.

Due to the cut in the development budget, the development activities also slowed down which resulted in a loss of Rs55 billion in tax revenue while Rs15 billion less collections were made in other sectors, including cement, fertilizer and automobile, she elaborated.

Talking about enforcement and recovery operations, Shakeel informed that a total nine people have been arrested while arrest warrants have been issued against two involved in tax evasion.

Related: Asif Ali Zardari to appear before FBR in car tax evasion case on April 10

Besides this, 4,000 bank accounts and 78 properties have also been attached during the last three to four months.

Dr Sarwar said that FBR is going to launch an operation against benami bank accounts, transactions and properties from April 1 in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. Information is being collected from the State Bank of Pakistan in this regard, he added.

“We have recovered Rs13.5 billion in tax revenue from high net worths and also through data-based operations,” said Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar.

A survey has also been completed regarding businesses in big shopping malls and notices are being served, said the FBR officials.

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