ISLAMABAD: With the aim of expanding the tax net in Pakistan, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is flexing muscles and has warned non-filers to become filers and submit income tax returns; otherwise, get ready for the suspension of bank accounts and ban on local and foreign travelling through motorways and international air travel.
Chief Broadening the Tax Base (BTB), Muhammad Asif, told the media that the FBR has initiated a countrywide survey of business and commercial units for registration of non-filers, adding that the non-filers must register themselves with the nearest tax office to avoid a number of consequences including penalties, fines, disconnection of their utilities, suspension of bank accounts etc. He said that officials are also considering limiting the movement of non-filers on motorways and airports if needed.
FBR Faces Challenge in Extending Tax Net
According to data available from different media outlets, around 5 million (out of 240 million) have registered themselves in the tax system and have filed their rerun in 2022. A major portion of the population is still out of the tax base, which is alarming.
Muhammad Asif lamented that, unfortunately, the country faced a formidable challenge in its fiscal landscape branded by rampant tax evasion, an alarmingly low tax-to-GDP ratio, and an insufficient number of tax filers affecting the overall revenue generation in Pakistan.
He further said that keeping in view the overall dismal situation regarding tax collection, FBR has launched a countrywide drive to broaden the tax base, targeting all eligible to bring them under the tax net.
According to media reports, FBR is planning to include at least 1.5 million new taxpayers in the system.
It is worth noting here that most of the public complains about the tiring procedure of tax collection and believes if the government came up with easy criteria or like a one-window system, they would become filers and would submit their tax return regularly.