FBR plans to enhance taxes on non-filers

PM adviser, FBR chief meet businessmen to allay concerns

Our Correspondent November 18, 2017

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) will continue to facilitate taxpayers and focus on non-filers by enhancing taxes on them in order to improve revenues of the country, said Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Revenue Haroon Akhtar Khan.

During his visit to the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), he said the FBR was determined to document the businesses and was working with NADRA and provincial authorities in that regard.
Number of income tax return filers drops to less than half

Khan revealed that a simplified, one-page tax form would be developed for certain sectors and audit process would also be streamlined to facilitate taxpayers.

He said excluding agriculture, the tax-to-GDP ratio had increased up to 14-15%, adding over 1.4 million people were expected to file tax returns this year.

The Alternate Dispute Resolution Committee would also be further refined for quick resolution of tax disputes.

The PM aide assured the business community that their proposals would be given due consideration while finalising the budget.

Speaking on the occasion, FBR Chairman Tariq Mahmood Pasha said the bureau had zero tolerance for misbehaviour and harassment on the part of tax collectors against any taxpayer, adding taxpayers’ respect was a high priority.

Pasha assured businessmen that no raids would be conducted against any business without solid information. The FBR has created three exclusive zones - one each in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad - to broaden the tax base. From February onwards, the taxpayers would fill tax returns offline and submit them online, the chairman said.

This arrangement would keep the server less busy and facilitate taxpayers in filing the returns on time.

“The FBR released 156% more sales tax refunds last quarter and would further expedite payments of verified claims,” the FBR chief remarked. He said he had an open door policy and genuine complaints of taxpayers would be addressed.

ICCI President Sheikh Amir Waheed highlighted the tax-related issues faced by the business community. He emphasised that tax incentives should be given to the local industry to promote import substitution and sales tax should be reduced to single digit in order to bring down the cost of doing business.

Expanding Tax Base: FBR reaches out to PARCO and OICCI 

Waheed said the 4.5% withholding tax on individuals having turnover of Rs50 million or more should be revised, raids on business premises under Section 38 and Section 40B be stopped and regulatory duty on industrial raw material should be withdrawn to facilitate the growth of manufacturing activities.

He stressed that taxpayers should be given at least five-year exemption from the next audit.

Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) President Zahid Latif suggested that the FBR should take the business community on board in the policymaking process to achieve positive results.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 18th, 2017.

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