ISLAMABAD: Forty seven percent of the country’s elected legislators from the national assembly and four provincial assemblies all together did not pay income tax and 12 percent of these members do not even have a National Tax Number, according to FBR data.
Furthermore, out of 680 members who declared their incomes in their nomination papers, 25 percent have been identified as showing lower earnings to FBR for tax deduction as compared to what they declared to the Election Commission of Pakistan.
A report reveals scores of top guns in the national and provincial assemblies found falling in the category of non-taxpayers, non-NTN holders, or who filed false declarations of incomes and taxes.
Out of 1,070 members of all the assemblies, 342 belong to the National Assembly, the only authorized institution to impose federal taxes. However, the present assembly has 30 MNAs who are still not registered for NTN while they themselves exercise the voting right for imposing taxes.
There are 240 MNAs who declared their income. Whereas, 201 lawmakers said they had made tax payments. The study found that declarations of 53 MNAs were contradicted by FBR data. A comparison of information in nomination papers of 240 MNAs with FBR data found 90 cases with inconsistencies. Many prominent politicians submitted conflicting income statements to the ECP and FBR.
Out of a total of 372 MPAs in the Punjab Assembly, 169 or 43 percent are non-taxpayers. However, the number might be higher than this as the record of only 351 lawmakers could be accessed.
There is no tax record of 19 MPAs while claims of 53 MPAs that they pay tax has been denied by FBR and 43 MPAs do not even have an NTN. The declared income of 51 MPAs is also different from FBR record.
Punjab Assembly has 182 lawmakers who claimed to have paid their income tax liabilities. However, FBR record did not support the claims of 53 MPAs.
The Punjab Assembly has 235 MPAs who declared their income. A comparison of the nomination papers with FBR data noted similarity in 184 cases and discrepancy in 51 cases. 169 MPAs, according to record submitted by them, pay zero tax.
The report reveals that out of the 168 members of the Sindh Assembly at least 59 members of the Sindh Assembly have not paid any tax in 2012 while 15 do not even have National Tax Number. Record of five MPAs could not be examined.
There are 104 lawmakers in Sindh Assembly who said they had paid their income tax, but the record identified at least 40 cases where details given in nomination papers were disputed by FBR data. Sindh Assembly has 119 MPAs who declared their incomes in their nomination papers.
The report disclosed that out of 124 members of KPK Assembly, 81 did not pay any tax in 2012. In total, the KPK Assembly has 31 MPAs without NTNs which means that 25 percent legislators do not have NTN.
Only 36 members of the provincial assembly have claimed they had paid taxes whereas the record of seven was not available.
The KP Assembly has 36 members who declared that they had no outstanding income tax liabilities on the dates fixed by ECP. However, cross-matching with FBR data found out that at least in 17 cases such declarations were not correct.
More than half of Balochistan MPAs including eight members of the provincial cabinet have not paid any income tax.
The latest study revealed that out of 65 members of the provincial assembly, only 21 MPAs claimed that they had paid income tax while 36 did not. The record of another eight MPAs is not available.
It further says that of the 21 MPAs who claimed to have paid their taxes, a comparison of record discovered nine cases wherein the declared information was not verified by FBR. Four members of the provincial assembly do not even have a National Taxation Number (NTN) number.
Non-taxpaying MNAs are in all the assemblies belong to all of the major political parties. As per law, any mis-declaration can lead to a member’s disqualification.