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January 2, 2019

FBR’s nationwide drive to net tax evaders from today

Top Story

January 2, 2019

ISLAMABAD: In a nationwide campaign, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is all set to launch door to door survey for collection of information from hundreds of thousands of residents living in posh areas of major cities to identify potential tax evaders.

The FBR will kick-start national campaign for achieving broadening of narrowed tax base on Wednesday (today) from posh sector of E-7 Islamabad in a bid to identify high net worth individual for the purpose of bringing them into tax net.

Official documents as well as top officials of the FBR disclosed to The News on Tuesday that on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan to chairman FBR for undertaking this exercise in posh areas of all over the country to identify potential tax evaders, this national campaign for broadening of tax base has been devised and approved that would be kick-started from today (Wednesday). The FBR will seeking information through survey forms from resident of posh area of E-7 in the federal capital.

“We want to launch this campaign from those who are living in luxurious houses as owners or tenants in order to give loud and clear message that the broadening of tax base will be done without creating any harassment,” said the FBR official.

In the past, all surveys launched by the FBR had failed to yield any desired results mainly because either the exercise was scrapped halfway or the collected data could not be used for the purpose of converting this gathered information for the purpose of tax collection. So the FBR will have to enhance its capacity to utilise this information which they are going to collect through this national campaign for broadening of tax base over the next few months period.

The highly skewed and narrowed tax base where number of filer stood at just 1.4 million out of total 206 million population highlighted that less than one percent were return filers in the country. The FBR is facing massive tax shortfall during the current fiscal in the range of Rs 150 to 170 billion and without broadening of base the country’s fiscal woes cannot overcome.

The FBR teams have been assigned to distribute one page form among all those living in posh area of E-7 Islamabad. Through this form, the FBR sought details about name of owner, Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) number, National Tax Number (NTN), occupation/profession, date of acquisition of property and monthly rent if portion of building was given on rent in this campaign.

The FBR team will collect details about size of plot, ownership as per record of CDA information, building (floors) and rented portion if any.

Then this exercise would be expanded to Defense Housing Authority (DHA) and Bahria Town in Rawalpindi and other posh areas of Karachi and Lahore simultaneously in coming weeks.

According to Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) approved by the Chairman FBR, the tax machinery selected sector E-7 for pilot exercise as it is a small, compact and high end area in Islamabad. It has around 300 plots and around 20 streets.

After above trial exercise similar exercises will be launched at Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Karachi, initially focusing DHA, Bahria and other posh areas.

A small, motivated and dedicated teams may be formed at Broadening to Tax Base (BTB) Zones and PRAL may be asked to establish small data cells for data coding and cross matching. The FBR’s administration has set apart funds for the officials collecting this much needed information from resident of posh areas.

In order to address chronic problem of narrowed tax base PM Imran Khan directed FBR to initiate a national campaign for Broadening of Tax Base.

This campaign shall be jointly conducted by Directorate General-Broadening of Tax Base and Directorate General-Immoveable Properties FBR. For smooth and transparent execution of this campaign FBR has devised the following unified SOP which shall be followed by all concerned in letter & spirit.

Selection of location: E-7 Sector of Islamabad has been selected as the first post of this nationwide campaign due to its compactness and prime market value. All subsequent locations shall be selected by concerned directors BTB & IMP at Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad and by chief commissioners concerned at other urban centers. All such selected locations shall be notified by Director General, BTB FBR Islamabad for record and monitoring.

In future with enhanced momentum and for larger benefit University Students can be co-opted in this campaign. This option would help FBR in sharing of its workforce burden.

Each field team member shall be paid Rs500 per day and Admin wing shall spare funds for this campaign accordingly.

In a selected location campaign forms shall be distributed in sequence and for all omissions team in-charge shall record the reasons for the same.

Campaign forms shall be delivered & collected by same team. All retrieved campaign forms shall be handed over to PRAL team on daily basis for data coding & cross matching.

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