Sunday February 05, 2023

Parliament: big names, minimal tax

The tax directory of parliamentarians, issued by the FBR, disclosed that various big names among parliamentarians paid minimal tax for the tax year 2019.

January 04, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The tax directory of parliamentarians, issued by the FBR, disclosed that various big names among parliamentarians paid minimal tax for the tax year 2019.

Former prime minister and senior PPP leader Yusuf Raza Gilani paid zero income tax and Rs1.2 crore agriculture tax, Senator Khalida Ateeb paid just Rs315 income tax, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar paid Rs2,000, PMLN senior leader Ahsan Iqbal Rs55 lakh, Mahmood Khan Rs66,000, and Khusro Bakhtiyar paid Rs1.5 lakh tax for 2019.

Those paying relatively better included Prime Minister Imran Khan, who paid Rs98 lakh, PMLN President Shehbaz Sharif paid Rs82 lakh, former president Asif Ali Zardari Rs22.18 lakh, Bilawal Rs5.35 lakh, PMLN’s Azam Tarar 25.4 lakh, Asad Umar Rs42.7 lakh, Faisal Vadada Rs11.62 lakh, Shireen Mazari Rs3.71 lakh, Shahid khaqan Abbasi Rs48.71 lakh, Khwaja Saad Rafique Rs2.69 lakh, Rana Sanullah Rs29.94 lakh, Saeed Ghani Rs7.02 lakh, Shazia Marri Rs39,761, Raza Rabbani Rs 15.55 lakh.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi paid income tax of Rs851,955, agri tax Rs350,000, presumptive tax Rs42 lakh and showed total income of Rs 37 lakh. Minister for Information & Broadcasting Fawad Ch paid income tax of Rs136,808, SAPM on Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib Rs405,477, Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan paid income tax of Rs 12 lakh and agriculture tax of Rs520,000, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak paid income tax of Rs12.5 lakh, Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid paid income tax Rs557,450 and agriculture tax Rs324,667, Minister for Science Shibli Faraz paid income tax of Rs885,451,

Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali paid income tax of Rs 19 lakh, AoP tax amount Rs495,791, agri tax Rs 25 lakh, and CM Balochistan Abdul Qudoos Bizanjo paid income tax of Rs 10 lakh.

Those paying tax in crores were limited in number including PTI’s Shaukat Tarin, who paid Rs2.66 crore, PTI’s relatively less known MNA from Karachi Najib Haroon paid the highest tax Rs14.7 crore among parliamentarians, and JUIF’s Talha Mahmood paid Rs3.22 crore. While launching the directory, Federal Minister for Finance Shaukat Tarin said the IMF Board could extend its meeting a couple of days beyond January 12, 2022 deadline if approval of Tax Laws Supplementary Bill got delayed for few days.

“There will be no problem if the IMF’s Board extends its meeting for couple of days in case of approval of Tax Laws Supplementary Bill takes few days more,” Tarin said while talking to reporters after launching the Directory at FBR’s Headquarters on Monday.

The finance minister said the government would start sending tax notices to 15 million people from ongoing month (January) on the basis of assessment determined through their consumption pattern, travel and utility bills etc.

He said the government severely lacked funds for running the country as people were not fulfilling their tax responsibilities. He said that 15 million people’s data was available with the FBR and the National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) and through artificial intelligence, their income would be assessed on the basis of their bank accounts, travel history, utility bills, etc.

Presently, the tax-to-GDP ratio is hovering between 10-12 per cent, but they would increase up to 20 per cent within next six years. The finance minister admitted there were contradictions in national tax system, and some taxes were received twice under different heads. He admitted tax system also needed reforms from time to time.

There are parliamentarians who did not file returns include senators Hadyatullah Khan, Nassema Ehsan, Palwasha Mohammad Zai Khan and Qurratulain Marri. Earlier, Chairman FBR Dr Mohammad Ashfaque, in his address, highlighted the salient features of parliamentarians’ tax directory for tax year-2019.

He clarified that the PTI government had decided to continue the initiative and publish tax directory after making certain important improvements.

“In the previous format, only the amount tax paid by parliamentarians was reflected which caused a lot of confusion.” Therefore, learning from the past experience and with the prior approval of the government, additional columns have been added to show the income under different categories i.e. normal, presumptive and agriculture.

Likewise, last year total tax payment by an AoP was shown in which the parliamentarian was a member, this too created confusion. This year, on advice of the cabinet, share of the parliamentarians’ tax paid by an AoP has also been shown, he added.