Tuesday Dec 22, 2020
KARACHI: For the first time in Pakistan's history, the number of active taxpayers surged past the three million benchmark, The News reported Tuesday.
The Federal Board of Revenue's weekly updated active taxpayers list (ATL) revealed that for the year 2019, the number of return filers was at 3,000,453 on the basis of returns filed up to December 20.
Previously, the highest returns were recorded at 2.85 million for the tax year 2018, as per the taxpayers directory issued by the FBR in October.
The FBR issues its ATL every year on March 1 on the basis of returns filed by the due date of the tax year.
The number of returns filed by February 29 for the tax year 2019 was 2.53 million.
It means the FBR added 470,000 more returns since then to its list. The number of income tax returns increased despite the coronavirus-led lockdown during March – June this year.
The date to file income tax returns for 2020 was December 8, which was not extended. The FBR received 1.8 million returns for 2020 up to the due date.
However, another 300,000 taxpayers applied for an extension on the last date. Therefore, the number of returns filed for the tax year reached 2.1 million.
The number of income tax returns for tax year 2020 is likely to increase further as the ATL for the year will publish on March 1 and will remain applicable till February 28, 2022.
An official at the Regional Tax Office said FBR will get more returns as the ATL for tax year 2019 is applicable till February 28.
The official said the tax offices issued notices to individuals required to file their returns for 2019 on the basis of third party information.
FBR gathered information of about 7.4 million taxpayers whose withholding tax was deducted, but they failed to file their returns as required under the law, he stated, adding that the measures taken by the FBR compelled those who were making huge transactions to file their income tax returns.
In a bid to take benefit of the reduced rate of withholding tax, a taxpayer needs to file returns and ensure his name is on the ATL.
Through the Finance Act, 2019, the tenth schedule was introduced to the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 under which if taxpayers don’t appear on the ATL even after filing the returns they would be liable to pay 100% more withholding tax.