Pakistan moves towards paying taxes, customs duty through ATMs, internet banking

System expected to become operational by Dececmber 31, agreement signed by SBP, FBR and 1Link 

Our Correspondent October 03, 2017

KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and 1Link have signed an agreement to develop a mechanism enabling public to pay the federal taxes and customs duty using internet banking or ATMs.

The signing ceremony, organised in Islamabad, was chaired by Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar with Advisor to the Prime Minister on Revenue Haroon Akhtar Khan also present on the occasion.

The facility would be available round the clock and seven days a week, a press release stated. As per the proposed mechanism, the banks will add Inland Revenue and Customs as billers in the ‘Billers Module’ and develop necessary interface with 1Link.

After the system is made operational, taxpayers/importers will fill their tax and customs duty payment details in the FBR (IRS) and Customs (WeBOC) online modules to generate payment slip ID (PSID), the press release stated.

Only 29% of NTN holders file income tax returns

The PSID will then be used to access the tax/duty payment details on banks’ webpage or ATM as the case may be. The taxpayer or their agent will then pay the tax by debiting his/her bank account for onward credit to the respective government account in SBP BSC. The whole process will be online and fully automated.

The SBP has also advised banks to add FBR and Customs as billers in the ‘Bill Payment System’ offered by 1Link and develop necessary integration with it within two months ie by December 5, 2017.

The system will be made operational by December 31, 2017 after necessary testing. Banks have been advised to demonstrate full ownership and commitment for successful and timely implementation of the “strategically important project, which will bring huge efficiency gains besides facilitating the public in hassle free payment of government taxes and duties,” the release added.

Deadline to file income tax returns extended by a month

The finance minister said that the project will revolutionise the government’s tax collection mechanism. He expressed hope that all the formalities would be completed at the earliest and that the system would be operational by December 31, 2017.

SBP Governor Tariq Bajwa said that the initiative is part of SBP Vision 2020, which envisages development of a robust payment system and is primarily aimed at facilitating tax payers and the public at large in payment of taxes.

Echoing similar views, FBR chairman Tariq Mahmood Pasha said that the project will go a long way in further improving the tax collection systems.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2017.

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