Govt to bring 500,000 taxpayers into net: Bajwa

ISLAMABAD: Chairman FBR Tariq Bajwa said that the government would bring 500,000 new taxpayers into the net in order to broaden narrowed tax base over the next five years.

Talking to reporters at FBR’s headquarters, he said that FBR identified some major areas to identify potential taxpayers as they would bring 100,000 non-filers into the net during the current fiscal year.

He said that FBR was also working on placing uniform evaluation system of different products of imports which would help implementing same policy at clearing points in the same manner as there were complaints that in case of placing effective mechanism at one entry point the importers were used to clear their imports from any other point.

When asked about FBR’s powers for having access to bank accounts, the Chairman FBR said that there was no unusual activity reported by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) as he talked to him in start of August.

“FBR has not so far accessed any bank account as it will only be used to unearth black money and in case of those who are non-filers,” he added.

He said that the provision of access to bank accounts would not be utilized for existing taxpayers. FBR, he said, will devise proper rules related to access to bank accounts and only 14 to 15 tax officials including FBR Chairman and FBR Members will have permission to use this facility for identifying non-taxpayers.

In order to achieve challenging target of Rs 2475 billion in 2013-14, the Chairman FBR said that they started sending notices to rich non-filers who possessed assets in terms of holding precious lands in major urban centres & luxury vehicles, and those who are frequent international travelers and spending huge money on utility bills.

“FBR has decided to utilize data of consumption and investment by focusing on getting information from relevant authorities regarding biggest transactions of urban lands, luxury vehicles, international travels and users of utility bills to broaden tax base,” he added.

All those who made transaction of 500 square yards at the price of Rs 50 million will be brought into tax net, he added.

Mr. Bajwa said that it would be a challenge to fetch additional revenues of Rs 535 billion in order to display the desired target set for the current fiscal year which would require a growth of 28 percent.

The Chairman FBR said that there was less than 0.5 percent population discharging its national obligation as compared to developed countries.

To a query regarding tax amnesty scheme, the Chairman FBR said that he was not in favour of any tax amnesty scheme.

There would be zero tolerance on corruption among the FBR officers and Customs officers would also be suspended if found involved in any kind of corruption.

On the issue of sales tax refunds, he said that FBR established a queue and repayments of refunds would be paid on first-come, first-served basis.

He said that the Income Support Levy of 0.5 percent would be utilized for safety net programmes such as Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP). In order to discharge responsibility of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), he said that affluent people should voluntarily come forward to discharge their duty towards poor segment of the society.