Banks bound to divulge info about account holders to FBR

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ISLAMABAD: The FBR has been authorised to obtain online access to information about bank accounts in order to include up to 0.5 million potential tax dodgers in the tax base through the Finance Bill 2013-14.



Moreover, the government has made it clear that it will talk to the IMF on its own terms and conditions, adding that no new tax has been imposed and salaries will be increased in the next year.


Information about Rs1 million plus deposits of account holders, writing off of loans exceeding Rs1 million in a year and suspicious transactions will be sought from banks under the Anti Money Laundering Act.


The FBR has been permitted online access to the banks’ central database containing details of its account holders and all transactions made in their accounts, including a list containing particulars of deposits aggregating Rs1 million or more made during the preceding calendar month; a list of payments made by any person against bills raised in respect of a credit card issued to that person, aggregating to Rs100,000 or more during the preceding calendar month; a consolidated list of loans written off exceeding Rs1 million during a calendar year; and a copy of each Currency Transactions Report and Suspicious Transactions Report generated and submitted by it to the Financial Monitoring Unit under the Anti Money Laundering Act, 2010.


The Finance Bill 2013 states that each banking company shall also make arrangements to nominate a senior officer at the head office to coordinate with the Board for provision of any information and documents.


The banking companies and their officers shall not be liable to any civil, criminal or disciplinary proceedings against them for furnishing information required under this Ordinance. All information received under this section shall be used only for tax purposes and kept confidential.


However, Chairman FBR said that tax authorities were authorised to get such data in many parts of the world especially in OECD countries and proposed it in Finance Bill 2013 with the idea to broaden the tax base.


Chairman FBR Ansar Javed told reporters after post budget press briefing of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar here at P Block on Thursday that the FBR developed its database to prepare profiles of 0.5 million potential non filers and this task would be accomplished till December 2013.


Answering a query about Nadra’s demand to pay fee for utilising its data for preparing tax profiles of potential tax dodgers, he said that there should be no fee charged by another government department for sharing its data with the FBR and finance minister had assured him for getting the required data without paying any fees.


When asked about taxation impact in the wake of imposing additional tax on industrial and commercial consumers having monthly bill of Rs15,000, he said that it was imposed on non registered persons with financial impact of Rs2.5 billion. The FBR would fetch Rs2 billion because of its proposal to impose 2 percent additional tax in case of selling anything to unregistered persons.


Meanwhile, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said the government will follow its interests talking to the IMF. He said the people will have to swallow the bitter pill this time as salaries will be increased the next year. He refused to take back increase in taxes on higher salaried classes saying he would not be blackmailed by campaigns on the social media.


He told the post-budget press conference that those who earned more than Rs6 million were just 843 people all over the country so there was no need to be upset with these measures.


While announcing to constitute a committee to finalise exact figure of cost of war against terrorism being faced by Pakistan’s economy, Dar said that he was not among those who felt scared from pressure of any foreign embassy.


He said economy will be revamped at any cost. “I am afraid of God only and always take decisions in the interest of Pakistan,” Dar said. He said that he had walked out of a conference in Washington DC when donors tried to dictate terms after Pakistan’s nuclear explosion in 1998.


While referring to the news reports about his decision to exclude the cost of war against terrorism from the Economic Survey 2012-13 because of pressure from US Embassy, he said that the president and other dignitaries of the country had stated losses to the tune of $80 to $85 billion a few months back and then the Economic Survey 2012-13 talked about losses up to $125 billion so how could he, being an accountant, allow release of any such unauthentic figures.


He said he has constituted a committee to finalise exact numbers on this account, which would be shared with everyone. On the issue of taxation measures taken in the budget, Dar said some 3114 persons of higher salaried income slabs earning handsome amount per annum have ganged up against the government on the social media but he would not be blackmailed and the decision would not be reversed.


“We have found that there will be only 3114 individuals who will contribute more in terms of paying increased income tax having handsome annual income from the next financial year. I have seen that those people ganged up against the government on the social media but let me assure you that this decision will not be reversed,” he said.


“Don’t play with the future of this country,” Dar remarked and said that Income Levy of 0.5 percent was imposed to help those who were forced to live below the poverty line. “This step will cause increasing his own tax liabilities in the range of Rs2.5 million to Rs2.6 million,” he added.


A separate account for Income Levy will be opened and resources collected through this initiative will not be made part of Federal Divisible Pool (FDP) for distributing resources between the centre and provinces, he maintained.


Chairman FBR, Ansar Javed, told reporters after the press briefing that total revenue impact of doubling the slabs of salaried class from 6 to 12 and raising incidence of taxes on higher slabs would yield additional revenues of Rs4 billion in the next financial year.


He said that the taxation measures taken in the budget would yield additional revenues to the tune of Rs202 billion by increasing GST rate from 16 to 17 percent. He argued that the rate of Value Added Tax (VAT) just like GST in UK was more than 22 percent and people accepted it for the sake of betterment of their country’s economy.


The FBR, he said, was assigned Rs2475 billion tax collection target in the next financial year against revised estimates of Rs2007 billion in the outgoing fiscal year.


Responding to criticism on return of decade of 90s for increasing reliance on Withholding Tax regime, he said that it was imposed in adjustable mode and it could not be termed as indirect tax. “There will be no inflationary impact on account of withholding taxes,” he claimed.


The maximum rate of salaried slabs was proposed at 30 percent while in case of non corporate and Association of Persons (AOPs), the proposed tax rate was 35 percent in the Finance Bill 2013.


He explained that the government did not impose taxes on essential items of foods in the budget and added in the same breath that those who used imported beverages should also pay their due share of taxes.


“Those who claimed to be patriotic Pakistanis should come forward to contribute to the national kitty on a voluntary basis,” he said and concluded that the FBR would find out 0.5 million new taxpayers in a bid to broaden the tax base.

Courtesy:  The News

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