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Wednesday June 19, 2024

Over 7,000 SIMs 'unblocked' after filing of tax returns

FBR sources say data of 65,000 non-filers shared with telecom companies so far

By Ashraf Malkham
May 29, 2024
A representational image showing mobile phone Sims. — AFP/File
A representational image showing mobile phone Sims. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue's (FBR) move to block SIMs of non-filers has yielded results as over 7,000 tax payers filed their returns, it emerged on Wednesday.

The FBR sources told Geo News that telecom operators unblocked as many as 7,167 SIMs, calling it a positive development, days after the body said that more than 11,000 SIMs had been blocked over non-payment of their taxes.

"So far, the data of 65,000 non-filers has been shared with telecommunication companies," the sources said, noting that a list of more than 500,000 people has been compiled.

The decision has been taken to send a clear message to non-filers to submit their tax returns as the country goes through an economic crunch, with a high cost of living.

The FBR received total income tax returns of 5.9 million in tax year 2022, but it dropped to 4.2 million in tax year 2023 till March 2024 in line with the Active Taxpayer List (ATL). Around 1.8 million did not file their returns, according to The News.

Under Section 114 (B) of Income Tax Law 2023, the FBR possesses powers to enforce the filing of returns.

It states that the board has the power to issue income tax general orders in respect of persons who do not appear on active taxpayers' lists but are liable to file returns under the provisions of the Ordinance.

As the FBR finds ways to increase tax collection, the government, with the next budget set to be presented in a few days, is also mulling over the options to fix the tax revenue target at over Rs12.5 trillion.