Government is committed to expand the tax bracket as FBR (Federal Board of Revenue) has requested Ministry of Finance to publish directories containing lists of non-filers of tax returns. The request has been made in a proposal sent to the ministry recently.
The proposed directories will contain information of non-filers in three major areas including sales tax, withholding tax, and income tax. FBR has asked the ministry to ensure that these tax return directories are published by 1st May 2017. This initiative is in continuation of the ongoing activity of publishing directories by FBR for tax filers and tax filing parliamentarians.
To implement the given plan, a proposal will be issued for the Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. FBR will collect all relevant details of non-filers and include it in the proposal. Moreover, information will be collected from NADRA, power distribution companies, city development authorities, housing schemes, provincial property, vehicles registration offices etc.
According to FBR, there will be no flexibility in the policy and no concessions will be given to non-filers. It is also proposed that once the directories are made, the culprits will face severe penalties including seizing of bank accounts, asset confiscation, and eventually imprisonment.
Plan for a new tax collection system
In addition, FBR is working on a new tax collection system through common returns filing and payment system. However, there are many hiccups in its implementation as the provincial governments are rigid in their stance. The provincial authorities are not willing to share data with the federal government owing to trust issues.
Another plan in the name of “amnesty scheme” was launched by the board. Its prime purpose was to bring more people under the tax net instead of mere tax collection.
This system was designed to include all the retailers across Pakistan to include them in the tax paying groups. Under this plan, the retailers were allowed to declare only 1% of their declared assets as income tax so that they could be included in the tax radar.
However, this program did not turn out to be a huge success as only 1.5 billion retailers managed to file their tax returns.