Number of taxpayers shrinks to half in 3 years, Senate told

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ISLAMABAD - State Finance Minister Saleem MandviwalaWednesday admitted in the Senate that over three years the number of tax payers had drastically reduced.

In his written reply to a question, the minister told the house that only 0.81 million people had filed their tax returns during financial year 2011-12 despite the fact that some 3.39 million people were possessing national tax number (NTN).  “Though an increase was recorded in the NTN issued over the last three-year,the number of people who filed their tax returns dropped substantially.State Finance Minister Saleem Mandviwala had no plausible justification about that deplorable situation.According to his report: “During 2010-11 some 1.5 million people had submitted their tax return but during 2011-12 the number reduced to 0.81 million. In 2009-10, 1.6 million had submitted their tax returns.” The state minister said that notices had been issued to those who were not filing their tax returns.

"In case they don't responded to the warning, action will be taken against them," he added.

The Minister said that the ministry with the help of Nadra had identified some 7.5 million people who are well to do but not paying taxes. "We are taking measures to bring all such people to tax net."The written reply states that a significant segment of Pakistan's economy is undocumented and for that reason the national exchequer is not receiving its due share from a large number of people drawing taxable income but not filing their returns. The minister said that the FBR had managed to gain access to the data about multiple bank accounts, travels, assets and other details of non-filers, adding that in view of the large number of unregistered and registered non-filers, FBR was offering an opportunity to bring them within the tax system.“Enforcement Initiative 2012 has been devised to register and bring the non-filers into tax net. A fixed tax has been proposed to provide cover to un-declared income/assets of up to Rs5 million,” the reply states.

According to the report, the Investment Tax Scheme 2012 would attempt through a simple scheme to provide a mechanism to encourage non-filers of income tax returns to declare income, assets and expenditure of up to Rs5 million by paying a token tax.He said that the proposed initiatives were expected to generate estimated revenues of Rs70 billion,stretching the number of taxpayers to 4 million. The tax evaders not availing the schemes shall face stern action including placement of their names on the exit control list, cancellation of passports, CNIC and seizure of bank accounts, the reply said.


Courtesy: The Nation

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