ISLAMABAD: Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin on Friday advised the unregistered potential taxpayers to initiate paying taxes before the government reaches them with documentary evidence of their assets.
“I assure the nation that change is taking place, we are making use of technology and will reach all potential taxpayers,” he said while addressing the launching ceremony of National Sales Tax Returns (NSTR), organized by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
The minister regretted that just around three million tax returns were filed in a country that had a population of 220m.”This is not right,” he said, adding that the government would now use technology to reach all persons liable to pay taxes.
“I am giving this good news to unregistered taxpayers that we will reach them in the coming few weeks and we will tell them what’s their income and how much tax they have to pay,” he added.
Tarin added that there was now no need to issues notices as the government was already possessing data of millions of taxpayers. “The authorities would reach the tax evaders and provide them the tax returns with an opportunity to prove it wrong by consulting panel of auditors or pay the due taxes,” he added.
“We will not harass, we will tell them what they possess. If they don’t pay, then the law would take its own course,” he added. “So it is my request to start paying taxes before we reach you,” Tarin said, adding that the government would deal with unregistered taxpayers “on the basis of concrete data and not assumptions”.
Meanwhile, the minister congratulated federal and provincial revenue divisions for coming on a single platform and making payment of revenues easy for taxpayers.
He said, since sales tax on goods was federal domain and sales tax on services was coming under provinces, hence it was creating hardships for taxpayers.
Now, under the single platform, the taxpayers would be facilitated, adding that in previous system, if a company was operating in all the provinces, it had to deal with around seven agencies for filing returns, with chances of errors. However, now they would be required to file single tax under the new system.
He said that the government was also working on further harmonization of system to facilitate taxpayers and expressed the hope that ease in tax deposit system would help enhance revenues.
Speaking about the Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2021, the minister said the legislation, which would lead to the withdrawal of tax exemptions worth Rs343bn, was not aimed at increasing tax collection but rather ensuring documentation. He said the legislation would “connect the broken chain of the VAT (value added tax)”.