ISLAMABAD: Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has recorded 117.2 percent growth in income tax return filing for tax year 2017 to 352,000 returns by October 13 as compared with 162,000 returns filed till the same day of the last year.
This was revealed during a meeting, which was chaired by Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar at the Ministry of Finance to review matters related to the FBR and the Finance Division.
FBR Chairman Tariq Mahmood Pasha and senior officials of the Finance Ministry attended the meeting. The FBR chairman briefed Ishaq Dar on the progress in taxpayer’s outreach programme launched by the Board on the minister’s instructions for broadening the tax base.
The finance minister expressed satisfaction on the progress made by FBR and stated that the last date for filing of returns was extended to October 31, based on the genuine demands from tax professionals and trade organizations. He said that given this facilitation which has been extended to trade bodies and taxpayers, FBR should now work closely with representative bodies to ensure that returns due for the current year are filed by October 31, 2017.
The minister was further informed that specialized Broadening of Tax Base (BTB) zones will become fully operational November 01, 2017.
The FBR chairman said that senior officers of FBR are holding workshops on e-filing of returns for members of tax bars, professional bodies and chambers of commerce and industry.
Large corporate employers have been approached for ensuring filing of returns by all employees receiving taxable salary. Help desks have been established in tax offices throughout the country and FBR’s helpline and website have been revamped to facilitate return filing.
The acting Finance Secretary briefed the minister on the progress of the various ongoing initiatives of the Ministry of Finance. He said that efforts were in hand to make sure that the strong fiscal performance of first quarter was maintained during the second quarter and beyond.
He also briefed the minister on the estimates of gross external financing needs during the current fiscal year. He said a recently published World Bank Report had erroneously indicated Pakistan’s gross external financing needs at $31 billion for the current fiscal year. The report was based on misinterpretation of standard definition of the gross financing needs of the country. Based on the international reporting standards, Pakistan’s actual gross financing need for FY 2017-18 was estimated at $18 billion (5.3% of GDP) rather than $31 billion (9% of GDP).
The matter had been taken up with the World Bank to rectify the error. The minister was informed that external inflows were expected to be sufficient to meet repayment obligations.
The acting Finance Secretary said in the first two months of current financial year, exports and remittances had improved while had slowed down. The minister directed the Finance Division to proactively work with the World Bank to ensure correct reporting of economic data. He also directed to ensure timely and effective implementation of the various ongoing initiatives of the ministry.