Thursday May 30, 2024

260,000 late filers make way into active taxpayers list

By Shahnawaz Akhter
March 23, 2021

KARACHI: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has included at least 260,000 late filers of returns for the tax year 2020 into the active taxpayers list (ATL) in three weeks after they paid out surcharges, official document revealed on Monday.

The FBR updated the weekly ATL on the basis of income tax returns filed and surcharge paid for inclusion in the list up to March 21. The FBR issued a new ATL for the preceding tax year on March 1 every year. The latest ATL for the year 2020 issued on March 1 contains names of around 2.17 million active taxpayers.

Inclusion of taxpayers’ names in the ATL guarantee exempt or reduced rate of withholding income tax. Besides, it is also a prerequisite for foreign exchange bank accountholders.

A number of forex bank accountholders had caught by surprise as their names disappeared from the latest ATL and therefore banks denied them of any transaction despite they filed returns. Though the FBR instantly updates ATL online once surcharge is paid, banks only rely on the updated list shared with them by the FBR.

For the tax year 2020, the FBR refused to extend the last date for filing income tax returns beyond December 8, 2020 for salaried class, businesses and corporate entities falling in the special tax year.

The FBR also made it clear that inclusion of taxpayers’ names in ATL would only be possible after payment of surcharge. It means if a taxpayer files return after the due date he would become a return filer but not an active taxpayer.

When the ATL 2020 was issued on March 1, the number of return filers was around 2.62 million. Taxpayers who filed their returns by due date or had paid surcharge fee were given active status.

The surcharge fee for inclusion in ATL is Rs20,000 for corporate taxpayers, Rs10,000 in case of association of persons and Rs1,000 for individual taxpayers.

The FBR on March 2 said 509,039 filers had not been included in the ATL 2020 as they could not file their tax returns within the due date or the date extended by the respective commissioners and ATL surcharge had not been paid by them. But, the FBR said such taxpayers could get themselves automatically included in the ATL if they would pay the necessary ATL surcharge. The sources said the FBR collected a huge amount under the head of surcharge payment for inclusion in ATL. The ATL for tax year 2019 had a record number of active taxpayers’ population of 3.2 million. Comparing last year’s ATL the FBR will increase the number of active taxpayers in addition to generate sizable revenue on surcharge payment.