Income Tax Returns: Non-filers Face SIM Blockage, Utility Disconnection

Sat Nov 18 2023
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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is striving to increase the tax net as it has been authorised to block mobile SIMs and disconnect utility connections if a return is not filed in response to the notices issued.

The decision comes after Pakistan reached a staff-level agreement with the global lender (IMF) on the first review of a $3 billion bailout. It is to mention that out of a total of 250 million population, there were hardly 4.9 million return filers during the last financial year.

The stats show that there are around two million return filers who filed nil returns and the authorities believe there is a need to find potential non-filers or tax dodgers to bring them into the tax net.

The FBR has also established 145 district tax offices across the country as part of restructuring measures to bring 1.5 to 2 million new taxpayers into the tax net by June 2024.

The move is aimed at broadening the tax base and ultimately raising the tax-to-GDP ratio to a desired level.

The Inland Revenue Officers of BPS-17/18 would be appointed as DTOs. They would obtain and vet third-party data acquired from multiple departments and agencies that hold critical information regarding investment in assets and incurring huge expenditures by potential taxpayers who till now have managed to escape from the taxation system.

They may invoke recently introduced Section 114B in the Income Tax Ordinance 2001 which authorises the department to block mobile SIMs and disconnect utility connections, including electricity and gas, if the return is not filed in response to notices issued. A Documentation Law is also being introduced to obligate various agencies/ departments to provide data to the FBR through an automated common transmission system.

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