FBR drive to net 7 million new income tax returns

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KARACHI: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has estimated that seven million income tax returns will be filed this year following several amendments introduced through Finance Act, 2013, official sources said.


Presently, the total number of National Tax Number (NTN) holders in the country is just 3.3 million in the population of 118 million. Of the total NTN numbers issued, only 1.8 million income tax returns and salary statements were filed last year and among those about 0.8 million returns had belonged to corporate and Association of Persons (AOPs).


“The revenue authorities have estimated income tax returns will cross over 7 million after amendments made to Section 114 of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001,” a senior FBR official said on condition not to be named.


The sources said that majority of the new tax payers come from the salary class in the income slab of Rs400,000 – Rs500,000. They were exempted from filing income tax returns in the previous years but will be liable from Tax Year 2013.


The FBR - through a circular on August 13 - extended the date for filing returns from August 31 to September 30, 2013, giving one month to all the new entrants.


Section 114 of Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 it makes mandatory for individuals and corporate entities to file income tax returns. In the Finance Act, 2013 new categories have been introduced to this section and made mandatory for class of persons to file their annual returns.


The FBR officials said that the measures had been taken to broaden the tax base in the country by enhancing the number of taxpayers and increasing revenue collection.


Pakistan tax-to-GDP ranks amongst the lowest ratio in the world. Presently, the ratio is stagnant at about nine percent for the past several years.


However, from this year the FBR has decided to strictly enforce the filing of returns and recover taxes from those people dodging the authorities for years.


“The FBR has started audit of non-filers/evaders and non-compliant withholding agents,” another FBR official said. “The audit has been initiated on the basis of data of three million potential taxpayers, that was available with the FBR and made possible with the help of National Database Registration Authority (NADRA),” the official added.


The official said that the FBR was not considering selecting cases of taxpayers soon after filing tax returns by September 30. “However, on identification of any concealment in the returns those cases may be selected for audit,” the official said and added that otherwise their audit would be conducted under National Audit Plan.


The official also said that to encourage return filing the FBR was also considering wheter to enhance withholding tax rate for non-registered taxpayers.


Besides encouraging corporate return filing the government has already announced reduction in the corporate tax rate that would be 34 percent from next fiscal year and would be further reduced to 30 percent in next five years, the official added.

Courtesy:   The News

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