FBR seeks mobile users’ data for tax scrutiny

KARACHI: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has started gathering details of mobile phone users who have annual bills exceeding Rs10 million, official sources at a local tax department said on Monday.


“The FBR will request the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and other cell phone companies to provide details of those users whose consumption exceed Rs10 million in a year,” an official at the Regional Tax Office (RTO), on the condition of anonymity, said.


The data provided by the PTA and phone companies will be cross-checked with the available data at the FBR for their presence in the tax net, the official said.


The subscribers of land line phones are around 5.6 million who paid Rs854 million during 2013-14.


Meanwhile, the mobile telephone users in the country are over 136 million who paid Rs51.12 billion during the last fiscal year.


The sources said that the usage of mobile phone had become integral part of several large business houses, corporate entities and individuals but they were not on the tax roll.


The revenue body has issued national tax numbers (NTNs) to around 3.5 million persons, whereas the filing of income tax returns is disappointing as only 0.84 million people have filed income tax returns last year.


The sources said the scrutiny of data provided by the phone companies would also help the FBR check their supplies of large business houses, which would give details of both-end, ie, suppliers and purchasers.


The sources said that the FBR would take help from the National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) for the verification of users, besides the PTA and other phone companies would be asked to verify users in case the SIM is registered to another person.


The FBR would take the data of phone users who received bills by June.


The FBR expressed concerns over the narrow base in the country and has targeted to achieve 10 million income tax return filers during the next five years.


The FBR sources said that the new registrations would also help the tax authorities collect additional revenue.


Provisionally, the FBR had collected Rs2,266 billion in 2013-14 and for the next fiscal year, a target of Rs2,810 billion has been assigned.