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Friday Dec 04 2020
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FBR sends 'very polite' tax notice to 70,000 potential tax evaders

SAPM Dr Waqar Masood says that country’s tax authority has also developed a plan to bring 7.4 million non-filers into the tax net by using the Tax-Ray portal on IRIS. Photo: File

ISLAMABAD: Around 7.4 million potential tax evaders have been identified by the Federal Board of Revenue, The News reported on Friday.

The potential evaders have transactions worth billions of rupees, have paid withholding tax on the purchase of properties, vehicles, and other luxurious items but refuse to come into the tax net, said Special Assistant to PM on Revenue Dr Waqar Masood.

Masood said the board identified 250,000 individuals out of one million filers who claimed "absolutely no income" but were found to have paid Rs20 billion in withholding taxes which means their "transactions are worth over Rs200 billion". He said FBR served "very polite" tax notice to 70,000 biggest asset holders excluding the salaried persons.

The special assistant was convinced the technology will help make tax evasion impossible.

The SAPM shared that the tax authority divided the database of 7.4 million National Tax Number (NTN) holders into four to five classes, adding that the data showed only 2.7 million filed tax returns while 3.7 million did not file returns for the last five years.

When tax authorities analysed their data, they found Rs100 billion paid in withholding taxes. It indicates that they were conducting transactions worth billions of rupees. 

Read more: FBR wants Rs10 health tax imposed on a pack of cigarettes

The board also obtained data from land authorities such as CDA, LDA, KDA and others, building a database of 8.9 million. The FBR excluded 1.5 million filers who filed returns on average in the last three years - the remaining 7.4 million were the target. 

The special assistant said cellular companies also provided data of 100 million subscribers. "Even if we exclude 90%, 10 million are potential non-filers."

He said 168,000 out of 272,000 registered sales tax establishment were filing tax returns while 105,000 were not. Out of over 100,000 companies, only 45,000 were found to have filed returns. 

Read more: FBR says date for filing income tax returns won't be extended beyond Dec 8

Regarding tax collection target of Rs4,963 billion, Masood said the Ministry of Finance would decide on it.

"The corporate income tax reforms are on the cards but it is not yet decided when these exemptions will be withdrawn," he added. "The government is also considering to reduce the number of withholding taxes."

He said that Track and Trace system would be brought for major sectors like sugar, cement, fertilizer, tobacco and beverages and its their deadline to award contract to winners till December 31, 2020. There will be bidders’ conference on Friday (today), he concluded.

He said the board would create a policy regarding non-filers after the expiry of the due date [December 8, 2020] to file returns. Masood ruled out the possibility of any further extension, stressing that the law of the land would take its course in dealing with violators.