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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Government Plan to bring affluent in tax net

Government Plan to bring affluent in tax net- Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has finalised a comprehensive plan to bring affluent people in the tax net in a countrywide tax broadening drive to be launched from July 1, a tax official told Dawn.

The proposed target for bringing rich people in the tax net for the next fiscal year is 500,000 persons, who would be traced on the basis of financial transactions and data collected from NADRA.

Income tax return filers fell to less than 800,000 in tax year 2012, showing that less than 0.5pc of the population files tax returns in the country of 180 million.

“We will start work on broadening of tax base from July 1,” a senior tax official told Dawn. NADRA has already provided data of 140,000 potential people, who are living in posh areas, having multiple banks accounts, and frequently make foreign visits, but they do not figure on the tax roll.

An official statement of the FBR issued on Wednesday said the most important step in this direction has been the decision to use the National Data Warehouse (NDW) for identification of new taxpayers who can be brought into the tax net.

The NDW would be used in various ways, including its usage for acquisition of data through profiling loading and data mining and usage.

In Pakistan, the National Data Warehouse was only owned and maintained by NADRA. But the statement by FBR has created confusion which NDW would be used for tracing taxpayers because no such thing exists at the FBR.

An information expert says that there is a huge difference in database and national data warehouse. He said FBR can only have a database based on a few machines.

FBR officials contacted were not available for comments to clarify this issue.

According to the FBR statement, the respective RTOs would be sent details and electronic profiles of these potential taxpayers so that notifications are issued by the tax commissioners concerned.

All monitoring and control of the process would be automated and system based.

The FBR has also upgraded its call centre facility for facilitation of taxpayers. Linkages with third-party sources, including provincial revenue authorities, have also been established for effective implementation and monitoring.

To strengthen the enforcement mechanism for the broadening plan, various decisions have been made by the FBR which include initiation of statutory proceedings against persons who failed to respond to outreach notifications through issuance of notices under section 114 of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001.

In case of taxpayer’s persistence on non-compliance, provisional assessment would be finalised and the taxpayer would still have the option to file a return accompanied by a wealth statement and reconciliation of wealth statement within the period of 60 days whereby provisional assessment order would be automatically vitiated.

If the taxpayer did not file the return and required documents within 60 days, the tax liability raised as per the provisional assessment order would become final and would be recoverable and, if necessary, penal and prosecution proceedings, which may culminate in imprisonment and imposition of fine, would also be initiated in selected cases for creating a credible deterrence.


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