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FBR striving to increase return filers, tax net remains stagnant

FBR striving to increase return filers, tax net remains stagnant

ISLAMABAD: Federal Board of Revenue has achieved the revenue target for fiscal year that has recently ended. However, there hasn’t been any tangible breakthrough regarding the addition of taxable persons and entities into the tax ambit.

Attempts are being made to show increase in filing of tax returns by government officials on a larger scale in order to obtain IMF’s contentment. But in fact none of the big fish have yet been caught.

To fulfil IMF’s condition of enhancing the tax net, details of assets from government officials have been collected by FBR’s Large Taxpayers Units after pressurising them while their taxes are already deducted from their salaries.

Though otherwise they had never submitted their assets’ details during their jobs until now, these include teachers and doctors in government service also.

During the campaign of enhancing the tax net, FBR collected assets’ details from officials of federal secretariats, doctors from all three major federal hospitals including PIMS, CDA and Polyclinic, and teachers from federal schools and colleges. The number of these government servants reaches thousands.

Interestingly there have been government servants who are forced to file returns while they are not even in the tax loop due to their low salaries. Similarly, small businessmen like shopkeepers and traders are forced to file returns which will only increase the number of return filers while there will be no amplification in the tax net.

Until now, no steps have been taken to include the individuals into the tax net who own millions of rupees and luxurious cars. FBR not only possesses lists of these individuals but also has access to their bank accounts.

After wasting millions of rupees on publicising and campaigning against such individuals, when the time came to get them lined up, the government suddenly became silent due to political reasons.

FBR high officials who had full preparation to act against such individuals had to face acute disappointment. High officials of FBR insist that it is the government alone which needs to give the green signal to let them act accordingly.