ISLAMABAD: The newly-designated Official Spokesperson for FBR and Member (IR Policy), Shahid Hassain Asad, has said that although the media generally projects a negative image of tax collection machinery, there is also a lot of positive reporting in newspapers about the work being done by FBR. All reports should be properly investigated to verify the facts and figures and the viewpoints of all stakeholders should be included to portray a balanced picture. While pinpointing shortcomings, the achievements of FBR should also be highlighted as it is working day and night for the uplift of the country. I believe that healthy and constructive criticism helps in improving the working of government departments.
In an exclusive interview with Customs Today Shahid Hussain Asad said he was optimistic and hopeful about achieving the target of Rs 2475 billion set for the financial year 2013-14. “We should be capable enough to generate the necessary resources for the development of our country and it can only be done through the promotion and enforcement of the tax culture. Political independence without economic independence is meaningless,” he added.
The FBR spokesperson elaborated: “Lack of financial management propels us to get foreign loans which ultimately results in negative economic growth. For the last few years FBR has been contributing 70 percent to the national budget and the remaining 30 percent is managed through loans. Loans are never an acceptable option. Rather we should utilize our own resources in a productive way to put the country on the path of development. At this time we are in a debt trap. As a nation, we have to understand the importance of taxes to get out of this trap.”
He said that there are two types of tax payers i.e. non-reporting and under-reporting. There are some taxpayers who do not bother to file returns and they are non-reporting tax payer. Others only file returns but do not report their true income.
Replying to a question, Shahid Asad said that the division of the IR wing a year ago did not produce the desired result. About the new SROs issued by FBR, he said that these are not issued to benefit any specific group or person but to facilitate the business community with the consent of the government.
He said that FBR is now working on Value Added Tax (VAT) mode. Although this is an advanced taxation system, the business community seems reluctant to accept it. At the present time the implementation of VAT cannot be successful, and its misuse will promote corruption at different levels.
He suggested that instead of collecting taxes at three different stages, i.e. sales tax on imports and manufacturing tax under VAT, the taxation process should be made simple so that taxpayers could be facilitated. Single tax system is always better than VAT and we will send suggestions to the Finance Minister in this regard.