ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has started deliberations to convert computerized national identity cards (CNICs) into national tax numbers (NTN).
“The main objective to adopt this system is to facilitate the taxpayers,” a source at the FBR told this scribe, adding that this system would enable the FBR to trace out anybody with lavish lifestyle but lying outside the ambit of tax net.
System is in practice in several countries of the world specially, US and others where people get all benefits such as social security as well as deposit their taxes on their CNICs which are also termed as their tax numbers.
“FBR has started deliberations in this regards keeping this practice in view,” the source added.
However, the source said that there were a few countries like Japan which were trying to have separate system which was under practice in Pakistan.
“Once this system is adopted, FBR data base will be able to trace out business and economic activity of an individual from CNIC rather than on the basis of NTN,” he said, adding that the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) had more powerful data base that benefitted the FBR a lot.
“NADRA’s database carries record of over 180 million people, however, FBR’s database stores a minor data of some 4.9 million NTN holders comprising companies, firms, trusts, associated persons, societies and a long list of individuals,” the source said. He added that out of 4.9 million NTN holders only 0.85 million were regular tax returns filler.
“At time of establishment of NADRA, the planners while conceiving the idea of CNICs had also this objective in mind that CNIC would be used as national tax numbers in future,” the source added
To meet this objective, the source said that FBR would have to establish a separate information base where CNIC would be taken as NTN. “Then the FBR will not be able to share the number of NTN holders and it will only be in a position to disclose the number of income tax returns fillers” the source added.
Actually, the source observed that FBR was also not happy with the wide ranging difference between the NTN holders and tax return filers, therefore, FBR was desirous of having the income tax returns fillers declared as taxpayers.
However, the source said that deliberations were required prior to coming to any conclusion in this regards because the FBR would not be in a position to bring someone in the tax net who would not possess CNIC, because CNICs were issued to young people after crossing a specified age limit.
“But, at present a tax commissioner was authorised to issue an NTN number to a person who does not possess CNIC,” he added.