Tax base is growing, FBR team tells PM – Newspaper

ISLAMABAD: The tax base has expanded significantly in the first year of the PTI-led coalition government, according to a presentation given by the Federal Revenue Board (FBR) to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday, as the number of new tax returns Taxpayers have more than tripled during the period.

The data showed that up to 783,039 new taxpayers filed returns with the tax department as a result of several schemes, including tax amnesty schemes. The government also made it easier for people to submit their statements by extending the submission deadline a record eight times. In terms of revenue, FBR received Rs2.583bn from these new respondents.

By way of comparison, the prime minister was shown data that reflects that in the last year of the PML-N government, only 190,391 new taxpayers were added to the total number. Similarly, revenue collection with those returns remained low: Rs717 million during fiscal year 2017.

The briefing also highlights the performance of revenue collection in the current fiscal year and facilitation measures for taxpayers

Total taxpayers in the first year of the PTI government reached 2,561 million in fiscal year 2018 compared to 1,514 million in the previous year, reflecting an increase of 69.1pc.

However, the presentation given by FBR officials did not mention the large revenue deficit of Rs580 billion in the same year despite a significant downward revision of the target.

The president of FBR was replaced once the deficit began to be evident. In the first two months of the current fiscal year, the FBR has seen a revenue collection deficit of almost Rs64 billion.

FBR President Shabbar Zaidi and his tax team informed the prime minister about the performance of the tax department.

At first, the prime minister made it clear that the main priority of his government is to eliminate the corruption of the FBR and achieve reform. He said that the recovery of public confidence in the RBA is the key to helping expand the tax network.

The briefing covered three main areas: broadening the tax base, performance of revenue collection in July-August 2019 and facilitation measures for taxpayers.

Zaidi informed the prime minister during the first two months (July-August) the income performance compared to last year. Revenue collection was recorded at Rs579bn between July and August 2019 compared to Rs505bn collected during the same months last year, showing an increase of 14.65pc.

The overall growth was achieved despite the negative 5.83pc growth in customs collection, which fell to Rs97bn this year compared to Rs103bn during the same months last year. The contraction occurred following the fall in imports.

The collection of income tax has reached Rs188bn this year compared to Rs172bn during the past year, showing an increase of 9.3pc. The growth in sales tax collection has been recorded at 26.92pc at Rs264bn compared to Rs208bn over the past year.

The collection of federal special taxes was recorded at Rs28bn compared to Rs21bn in the last year, showing an increase of 33.33pc.

Mr. Zaidi informed the Prime Minister that the collection of internal taxes registered an overall growth of 28pc mainly led by a growth of 16pc in the collection of income tax, the collection of taxes on national sales increased by 53pc and a National Fed growth of 39pc, respectively. However, a significant part of this increase would be explained by 10pc inflation in the same months last year.

To facilitate and automate taxpayers, the FBR president said that all steps are being automated in relation to taxpayer registration, certificate issuance, filing of returns, auditing and minimizing personal interaction to exclude the participation of FBR officials in these processes.

On the issue of visiting the markets since September 1, Prime Minister Khan asked FBR that tax officials have to ensure the on-site registration of all their official interactions during visits to different markets.

Mr. Zaidi said that FBR teams are visiting markets to help raise awareness about the online registration of mobile phones brought from abroad, the currency declaration system at airports and the advance passenger information system , in addition to public awareness about freight traffic.

He said that FBR in collaboration with NADRA has introduced the Sahulat web portal so that everyone can access the information online. He said the online FBR system would become more effective. He insisted that the RBA is facilitating entrepreneurs in the country.

The president said that tax refunds worth Rs16bn have already been made and other Rs17bn will be returned at the end of the current month.

Posted in Dawn, September 6, 2019



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