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National

December 12, 2017

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Goal of expanding tax base remains elusive

ISLAMABAD: As Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) makes concerted efforts to increase the number of tax filers by repeatedly extending the deadline but it has emerged that the goal of expanding the tax base and finding new taxpayers will remain elusive.

The documents available with The News show that FBR increased the number of taxpayers to an impressive 1.2 million last year but the number added hardly translated in any real gains for the FBR which continued to squeeze the existing taxpayers to meet its outstretched targets.

As per FBR data, over 1.2 million tax returns were received last year but of them, a staggering 31 percent of filers failed to contribute even a single penny as tax to the national exchequer. A mere 0.2 percent of the total number of files coming to a dismal figure of 2,445 as they contributed more than Rs10 million each.

The most disturbing figures related to the individual taxpayers who merely contributed Rs2.11 billion reflecting how far the distance FBR needs to cover before finding real taxpayers in good number.

Figures of taxpayers compiled by the FBR showed startling results as last year’s number showed that just 1.2 million persons filed tax returns and out of these filers 31 percent didn’t pay tax at all. Similarly just 0.2 percent (total 2445 filers) paid more than Rs10 million tax. Other figures are also very disappointing as far as total collection from individuals is concerned as total collection from individuals during tax year remained at Rs211 billion, which speaks a lot about the performance of the FBR.

The documents available with The News showed that number of tax filer who didn’t pay a single rupee as tax was 376,520. Then comes number of filers who paid tax in between Rs1 and Rs99 means less than hundred rupee. They were 347. Similarly those who paid tax in between Rs100 and Rs500 were 16,607. These persons were 1.4 percent of the total filers and paid total amount of Rs5.2 million. Then those who paid tax in between Rs500 and Rs20,000 were 375,207 (highest number of all categories) making 31.2 percent of the total registered taxpayers. They deposited Rs2.6 billion.

Next category of taxpayers is 233,095 individuals, 19 percent of total registered tax filers who paid Rs11.5 billion. The category of taxpayers ranging from Rs100,000 and Rs500,000 (11.6 percent of registered taxpayers) comprises 139,781 individuals who paid Rs31.1 billion during tax year 2016. Next category of return filers who paid tax in between Rs500,000 to one million paid total amount of Rs20.3 billion. They were total 28,841 or 2.4 percent of registered taxpayers. Those who paid tax in between Rs1 million and Rs10 million are 33,401 person or 2.9 percent of taxpayers who deposited Rs86.6 billion as tax. Last category comprises the individuals who paid more than Rs10 million. They were 2445 individuals who paid Rs59.4 billion. They were just 0.2 percent of the total registered taxpayers.

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