Economics & Business

FBR outlines plan to force big non-filers, short-filers to file returns

ISLAMABAD: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has decided to enforce by April 15 the return filing of top 1000 corporate non-filers and top 1000 corporate short-filers of sales tax for the period between July 2010 to December 2010, says a press release issued on Wednesday.

This was decided at a meeting of FBR’s Board-in-Council convened under the directive of Finance Minister Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh. The meeting chaired by FBR Chairman Salman Siddique and attended by all Members deliberated various proposals and options to invigorate revenue generation and meet the collection target for the ongoing year.

The Board has also decided to enforce compliance in corporate income tax returns where out of 44,794 registered corporate taxpayers, only 18,098 have filed their returns so far for the fiscal year 2010. A similar compliance would be also be ensured in the case of Association of Persons (AoPs) where out of registered 135,292 AoPs, only 34,155 have filed their returns. The enforcement drive would be completed by May 30, 2011.

The meeting also decided to start desk audit of corporate returns to be completed by February 28, 2011 as well as risk-based audit of the corporate sector to be completed by April 30, 2011. The demand raised as a result of these audits will be collected by June 30, 2011.

This Board-in-Council also decided to start monitoring of withholding agents with airline ticketing agents and banks being the first sectors to come under monitoring radar. The monitoring exercise would continue up to April 15, 2011.

The meeting also decided to utilize and cross-match data available with FBR in order to broaden the tax base. The decision was taken in the light of recommendations given by DG Broadening of Tax and DG Strategic Planning & Research in separate presentations to the Board-in-Council.

The meeting also decided to strengthen monitoring and enforcement mechanism to plug leakages in the system and realize greater revenue. A meeting of the LTU and RTO commissioners has also been convened in March to deliberate ways for expanding the tax net and broadening the tax base.

The meeting also decided to streamline and rationalize tariff on major items of the Afghan transit trade in view of an increased incidence of transit trade items like tea and tyres finding their way back in the Pakistani market and causing a huge loss in revenue. The meeting was told that this illicit trade has risen significantly during the last three years. In this connection, various studies by economic researchers are already under way in FBR to suggest ways for streamlining and rationalizing the tariff and erase the profitability of smuggling under the Afghan transit trade.

Another key decision taken by the Board-in-Council was to set up six electronic way-bridges and instal scanners on the Afghan transit trade route. The meeting was informed that one such way-bridge had already been set up at Chamman while another being set up at Torkham would be completed within the next two days.

One way-bridge would be set up at Ammangarh while the remaining three would be completed at Quaid-e-Azam International Container Terminal, Pakistan International Container Terminal and Karachi International Container Terminal in port city of Karachi. All the six way-bridges would be operated through a centralised recording system while FBR House would eventually house the mechanism for the direct monitoring.

Furthermore the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) has suggested increment in the flood surcharge up to 15 % and special excise duty to 1.5 % in order to meet the tax targets of current fiscal year, as the government failed to pass the Reformed General Sales Tax (RGST) bill from the target.

Salman Siddique, the FBR chairman while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Finance regarding tax targets said that they collected Rs 777 billions in the first seven months of current fiscal year while Rs 827 billion are due to be collected in the next phase of five months to meet the targets of Rs 1604 billions.

Chairman FBR stated that the government is facing problems to run the affairs as steps would have to be taken to control the circular debt and overcome the economic crises. He further told the committee that they had pointed some 2.3 million people, who are out of tax net. Only 1.96 million people out of total 2.98 million registered before the FBR submitted their tax returns of which they were facing 40 % gap, he added.

The Chairman further said that new appointments have been made in the FBR to eradicate the corruption and improve the economic situation, He maintained that they are also working to meet the tax collection targets.

Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Finance, Senator Ahmed Ali while declaring zero performance of FBR officials urged the need of improvement. Senator Haroon Khan, Senator Kalsoom Perveen, Senator Ilyas Bilour, Senator Safdar Abbasi, Senator Khursheed Khan and Senator Islamuddin were also present during the meeting.-ONLINE

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Haroon Akram Gill

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