FBR likely to issue notices to over two million non-filers

KARACHI: Tightening its noose on those who do not pay taxes but are registered taxpayers, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is all set to issue notices to at least two million non-filers after the expiration of December 5, deadline, sources said on Tuesday

The sources said the revenue body has estimated over one million tax returns to be filed by December 5, out of the total 3.69 million National Tax Number (NTN) holders in the country. Considering the statistics, the FBR may issue notices of non-filing to around 2.5 million registered taxpayers, the sources said.

Tax filing deadline has expired on November 22, but the FBR announced a general amnesty for late filing of income tax returns by withdrawal of fine and penalty. However, it also warned those who failed to avail of the revised date of December 5, would be charged with the fine and penalty for late filing from November 22.

The sources said the FBR had also directed all the chief commissioners of the Regional Tax Offices (RTOs) and Large Taxpayers Units (LTUs) to submit details of persons having taxable income or having assets qualifying for filing returns under the law, but not on the tax roll.

The sources said the heads of the units had been asked to send details by December 5, to include such persons in the ongoing exercise of broadening the tax base.

The chief commissioners have been asked to provide details of vehicles from provincial excise department; properties from provincial land revenue department and cantonments; electricity connections both commercial and industrial and residential connections receiving monthly bills of specified threshold to be obtained from the power distribution companies; and mobile phone users from the cellular service providers.

Most of the records already available with the FBR database and further flow of information would increase the number of potential taxpayers in the country, the sources said.

During the last few years, the government had introduced several amendments to the Income Tax Ordinance, making it mandatory for certain classes of persons to file income tax returns, but till last year, the result was not encouraging. When contacted, Shahid Hussain Asad, Member of the Inland Revenue (Policy), confirmed the revenue body is planning to issue notices in bulk quantity. He, however, said no coercive action would be taken before the cutoff date.

In the tax year 2013, the FBR had received only 840,000 returns of the population of 180 million people in the country.

The sources, however, said the FBR had already started sending notices to non-filers of last years. They said the notices had been issued directly from the FBR headquarters, while field formation is also contributing towards this.

The sources said the directorate general BTB had made efforts to increase the number of registered NTN holders.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its statement released last month had also lauded the country’s progress towards broadening the tax base.

Source: The NEWS