More than 7,000 SIMs 'unblocked' after tax returns filed

"Data of 65,000 non-filers has been shared with telecommunication companies," say FBR sources

Ashraf Malkham
More than 7,000 SIMs unblocked after tax returns filed
Representational image. — Reuters/File
  • Sources say 7,167 SIMs have been unblocked.
  • Data of 65,000 non-filers shared with telecos.
  • List of over 500,000 people has been compiled.

ISLAMABAD: Telecom operators have unblocked more than 7,000 SIMs after people filed their tax returns, sources at the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) told Geo News on Wednesday.

The sources said as many as 7,167 SIMs had been unblocked, calling it a positive development, days after the body said that more than 11,000 SIMs had been blocked over non-payment of their taxes.

"So far, the data of 65,000 non-filers has been shared with telecommunication companies," the sources said, noting that a list of more than 500,000 people has been compiled.

The decision has been taken to send a clear message to non-filers to submit their tax returns as the country goes through an economic crunch, with a high cost of living.

The FBR received total income tax returns of 5.9 million in tax year 2022, but it dropped to 4.2 million in tax year 2023 till March 2024 in line with the Active Taxpayer List (ATL). Around 1.8 million did not file their returns, according to The News.

Under Section 114 (B) of Income Tax Law 2023, the FBR possesses powers to enforce the filing of returns.

It states that the board has the power to issue income tax general orders in respect of persons who do not appear on active taxpayers' lists but are liable to file returns under the provisions of the Ordinance.

As the FBR finds ways to increase tax collection, the government, with the next budget set to be presented in a few days, is also mulling over the options to fix the tax revenue target at over Rs12.5 trillion.