ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has served tax notices on over 100 renowned public figures under its initiative of Prominent Pakistanis in a bid to promote tax compliance culture in the country from top, it is learnt.
The FBR’s Directorate General Intelligence and Investigation (I&I) of Inland Revenue Service (IRS) has placed Prominent Pakistanis into ten categories including public office holders, politicians, bureaucrats, generals, parliamentarians and judges. The tax authorities have prepared profiles having all details of income and assets of about 87 parliamentarians out of which they dispatched gathered details to field formation offices. Interestingly, the tax authorities are busy in preparing tax profile of incumbent Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf who was elected from NA-51 Gujar Khan. “We started preparing tax profiles from NA-1 and now arrived at NA-51, which is the constituency of incumbent prime minister. We adopted this strategy in order to avoid any impression that the tax compliance exercise is meant for any kind of victimisation,” he said.
The tax profiles, he said, were also under preparation related to bureaucrats, generals and judges as under this initiative the FBR could not afford creating the holy cows. The second of 10 outlined categories include media persons comprising artists, models, singers, journalists, anchorpersons, fashion designers, production houses, and advertisement agencies. There are several renowned artists and singers who have already been served tax notices for not showing full details of their income.
“The FBR has also issued tax notices to nine media persons so far,” said the official and added that the purpose of this scheme was to promote tax compliance culture instead of creating any element of harassment.
There are other categories including sportsmen comprising cricketers, hockey, squash, golf and tennis players. The next category relates to professionals comprising architects, doctors, chartered accountants, consultants, bankers, stock exchange and other brokers etc. The FBR also identified academicians, literary figures, and private school owners.
The remaining categories include prominent social figures, philanthropists, persons from NGOs, religious scholars, Ulema, pirs and leaders, real estate tycoons and property dealers, hoteliers, caterers, hall/lawn owners, and feudal lords, Waderas and Sardars etc.
In the wake of dismal situation prevailed in all the sectors, the FBR took the step in the right direction and categorised prominent Pakistanis with the aim to broaden the tax base. It is not yet clear how much strength the tax managers would show to continue this scheme because all these categories are considered as the most influential segments of the society and how the FBR would proceed against them.
Explaining features of served notices, there are different shape of tax default in the country as there are instances that different singers earn money in India or any other country but they do not declare it in their tax returns. There are many renowned people who do not even bother to file tax returns but ignorance of law is no excuse.
There are several people who own three to four houses but they do not show it in rental income. The FBR official said that there was not everything negative happening in this country as there were some positive developments and serving notices after preparing detailed profiles was a step in the right direction. Despite repeated attempts, FBR’s spokesperson Riffat Shaheen Qazi was not available for comments on the initiative of Prominent Pakistanis.