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FBR to conduct audit of all four mobile phone companies to ensure transparency

FBR to conduct audit of all four mobile phone companies to ensure transparency

FAISALABAD: The mobile phone operating companies deduct more taxes from their users but the payment to the government is not proportional to the collected amount, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) claimed.

The FBR made the claim during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology headed by Senator Shahi Syed on Thursday.

Explaining discrepancies found in the companies billing and costing process, FBR Director General (Withholding) Mehmood Aslam stated that the data uploaded by a cellular company, Telenor, on FBR’s new IT based portal shows the firm did not pay Rs267million in the wake of additional taxes during July to November 2017 to the government.

Mehmood Aslam said that an audit of data provided by Telenor regarding the deduction of Withholding Tax from consumers is underway. The FBR aims at conducting similar audit of all four mobile phone companies to ensure transparency, he added.

The committee observed that consumers got less talk time despite paying more money due to overcharging by the companies over the past five years. The members also expressed fear regarding the alleged tax evasion by these operators.

However the FBR avoids confirming the allegation as it did not have a proper mechanism to keep an eye on the transaction data of millions of users.

However Aslam told the committee that a new mechanism developed to improve revenue collection from telecom service providers had enabled the government to plug the loopholes in the existing tax collection system.

In order to strengthen the audit system and increase revenue collection, the federal tax body had introduced new IT based system for monitoring the withholding tax paid by the companies, he said, adding that all the companies concerned are required to upload monthly transaction data of every customer.

The Customs Today reported that the FBR has been asked to submit tax details of the companies till January 24 when next meeting will be held.