Saturday, November 18, 2023
ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has secured more powers in a bid to increase the tax net and was authorised to disconnect utility connections and block mobile SIMs if a return is not filed in response to notices issued, The News reported Saturday.
The decision comes after Pakistan reached a staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the first review of a $3 billion bailout.
Out of a total of 240 million population, there were hardly 4.9 million return filers during the last financial year. There are around two million return filers who filed nil returns, so there is a great possibility of finding potential non-filers or tax dodgers to broaden the tax base.
In this regard, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) also established 145 district tax offices across the country as part of restructuring measures to bring 1.5 to 2 million new taxpayers into the tax net till June 2024.
The offices would focus on bringing new taxpayers into the tax net till June 2024 by enforcing Income Tax Returns from non-filers and stopping filers.
Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar had stressed the importance of revenue and increasing the existing number of tax filers during recent meetings, said a statement issued by the FBR.
The board on Friday notified the offices of 145 DTOs to broaden the tax base, ultimately raising the tax-to-GDP ratio to a desired level.
The DTOs would be Inland Revenue Officers of BPS-17/18. They would obtain and utilise third-party data acquired from multiple departments and agencies that hold critical information regarding investment in assets and incurring huge expenditures by potential taxpayers who till now have managed to escape and stay away from the taxation system including registration and filing of tax returns.
One of the tools to be utilised for this purpose would be invoking recently introduced Section 114B in the Income Tax Ordinance 2001 which authorises the department to disconnect utility connections, including electricity and gas, and blocking mobile SIMs if the return is not filed in response to notices issued.
A new Documentation Law is also being introduced to obligate various agencies and departments to provide data to the FBR through an automated common transmission system.