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April 28, 2019

FBR inducts key IR officers ahead of assets declaration scheme


April 28, 2019

KARACHI: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has inducted a key workforce at its Inland Revenue department as a new assets-declaration scheme is around the corner, necessitating further human capital to broaden tax base, sources said on Saturday.

The sources said the FBR strengthened operations of broadening of tax base (BTB) through induction of at least 36 Inland Revenue officers (IROs). The BTB wing of the FBR was facing shortage of staff to enforce laws in the Income Tax Ordinance 2001 to bring individuals – having taxable income – into the tax net.

An official at the Regional Tax Office (RTO) Karachi said the BTB wing launched large scale operations in the wake of growing number of transactions made by non-compliant individuals.

The government is set to launch a new tax amnesty scheme for undeclared local and foreign assets. The FBR said the proposed amnesty scheme is meant to broaden the tax base.

The RTO official said the new induction of the field force would help people in availing the amnesty scheme to become part of the documented sector.

The FBR posted 36 IROs at the BTB Units of regional tax offices in Karachi, Hyderabad, Faisalabad, Sargodha, Sukkur, Sahiwal, Multan, Quetta, Sialkot, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Bahawalpur and Peshawar, according to the officials.

The officers posted in the BTB zones across the country are delegated with tasks to broaden tax base and might not be given any additional charges / responsibilities. The RTO official said the FBR BTB wing collected a huge data of 5.6 million individuals through third party sources and withholding tax transactions. “In order to utilise the data the BTB wing requires more field force,” the official added.

The tax official said individuals with national tax numbers are above four million, but only 1.9 million of them filed tax returns for tax year 2018.

The FBR collected information of 5.623 million individuals having taxable income and are required to file income tax returns, as they remain out of the tax net. The data from various sources include 976,000 from motor vehicle registration authorities, 272,000 from car manufacturers, 2.1 million from electricity subscribers, 588,843 from property registration authorities, 302,000 from mobile phone companies, 222,000 doctors, lawyers and engineers, 609,000 from the National Database and Registration Authority, 53,220 from withholding statements, and 187,000 from banking transactions.

The RTO official said the tax units planned surveys of shopping plazas, retailers, wholesalers and markets to identify potential taxpayers but they hit snags due to shortage of staff. The BTB zones are presently issuing notices to non-complaint taxpayers through available data. “But, it (the exercise) is not enough to ensure bringing new taxpayers into the tax roll,” the official added.

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